KARACHI: Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Thursday hinted at the possibility of 50 PTI lawmakers in Punjab Assembly voting against Parvez Elahi — the party’s candidate against PML-N’s Hamza Shehbaz — in the run-off election for Punjab chief minister that will take place today (Friday).
Addressing a press conference after the federal cabinet meeting, Mr Sanaullah said that it is possible that PTI members who are “sensible” and whose “conscience is alive” will question Mr Elahi’s selection as the candidate.
“PTI chairman Imran Khan had campaigned against Mr Elahi and called him ‘the biggest dacoit of Punjab’ and now he was asking his party to vote for him,” the minister said.
The lawmakers are also apprehensive on Mr Elahi’s statement to “instantly dissolve the assembly” on Mr Khan’s directives, the minister said, calling it an indication of how much value Mr Elahi gives to the assembly.
Says Imran used to call PTI’s CM candidate ‘Punjab’s biggest dacoit’; concedes that PML-N workers didn’t campaign for party’s candidates in by-polls
The minister rejected the PTI’s claims that PML-N was “buying” its party members, while admitting that the his pparty is “in contact with everyone” as it is their “political and democratic right”.
While saying that the PML-N “despises the politics of horse trading, Mr Sanaullah reminded the PTI chairman how independent candidates were brought into his party’s fold after the 2018 elections.
“Who spent money on the people you welcomed in your party [PTI] after the 2018 elections. Who spent the money on it? Whose plane was used [to bring people]?” he asked Mr Khan who has been alleging that the PML-N is using money to buy PTI’s members’ votes.
Mr Sanaullah added that although the PML-N thinks “Mr Elahi neither has the right nor the capacity to become the chief minister”, yet the party will not indulge in “buying and selling of votes”.
Mr Sanaullah, who is the president of PML-N’s Punjab chapter, also defended his party’s recent drubbing in the by-polls, saying that the defeat is “not indicative of the PML-N’s popularity”.
“No party’s popularity can be judged on 20 seats. The 20 people, whom we had given the tickets, carried the burden of Imran Khan’s incompetent and unpopular Punjab government,” he said.
He added that the constituents were miffed at the candidates, many of whom were minister in the Usman Buzdar-led government, for the lack of development work.
However, he conceded that the party’s decision to give tickets to disgruntled PTI members was rejected by its workers and supporters who didn’t camping wholeheartedly for these candidates.
Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2022