PTI’s disgruntled Punjab MPAs ‘stand ground’ as Senate poll nears

Published February 23, 2021
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has directed the provincial ministers to coordinate with the PTI and PML-Q candidates to finalise four sets of MPAs who would vote for the candidates. — DawnNewsTV/File
Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar has directed the provincial ministers to coordinate with the PTI and PML-Q candidates to finalise four sets of MPAs who would vote for the candidates. — DawnNewsTV/File

LAHORE: Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and the PTI as well as PML-Q candidates for the Senate discussed on Monday the election strategy in a meeting wherein the candidates were asked to identify MPAs groups who would vote for them. Each candidate requires 46 votes for his election as senator from Punjab.

The CM has directed the provincial ministers to coordinate with the PTI and PML-Q candidates to finalise four sets of MPAs who would vote for the candidates.

However, the Punjab government has reportedly not yet been able to resolve reservations of the disgruntled elements within the party. The disgruntled elements claim that their number was rapidly increasing as more MPAs are expressing their reservations about Buzdar-led government’s inability to control corruption and ensure good governance.

The disgruntled group has planned yet another meeting for Wednesday (tomorrow) to give a tough time to the PTI government.

CM claims support of annoyed elements; discusses election strategy with candidates

PTI Senate candidates Saifullah Niazi, Ejaz Chaudhry, Aon Abbas Bappi and PML-Q candidate Kamil Ali Agha as well as PTI Senate candidates for women and technocrat seats, Dr Zarqa Taimoor and Barrister Sayyed Ali Zafar, met the CM.

Senior Minister Abdul Aleem Khan, Law Minister Basharat Raja and Chief Whip in Punjab Assembly Syed Abbas Ali Shah also attended the meeting.

Sources say the candidates told the CM that the set of PTI MPAs would be divided in such a manner that the south Punjab MPAs would vote for Aon Abbas Bappi, the candidate from the region, while the north Punjab MPAs would vote for Saifullah Niazi and other MPAs would vote for Ejaz Chaudhry, who is from the central Punjab. The meeting also decided that all PML-Q MPAs would vote for Kamil Ali Agha and the remaining number for 46 votes would be offered by the PTI MPAs.

The sources say the meeting discussed the matter of disgruntled elements and the CM said the reservations of annoyed members had been taken care of and they would also be support the party candidates. One dissenting voice from Muzaffargarh, Khurram Leghari, had met the CM who assured the MPA that his constituency’s problems would be resolved and he himself would visit the constituency. Mr Leghari later expressed confidence in the CM’s leadership.

“A few disgruntled elements had pressurised the PTI government at this critical juncture and got their demands accepted,” a source in the CM’s camp said, claiming the disgruntled elements would vote for the party.

When contacted, the disgruntled elements, however, did not acknowledge that their reservations had been resolved.

An annoyed MPAs’ group member said the number of rebel MPAs was increasing and it had shot to over 70.

“We are holding a meeting on Wednesday (tomorrow) to chalk out a strategy,” a rebel MPA told Dawn.

The rebel MPA, who have taken oath that they would continue their struggle against the CM, said there were certain PTI MNAs who would be voting for the PDM candidate Yusuf Raza Gilani instead of the PTI’s Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh.

Meanwhile, Speaker Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Parvez Elahi along with MNA Moonis Elahi called on Mr Buzdar to discuss the Senate election. Law Minister Basharat Raja briefed the meeting about contacts with the members.

Mr Elahi said the PTI and PML-Q were on the same page regarding the Senate elections.

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2021

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