Political parties apathetic about LB polls?


The local bodies’ polls are being held on party basis, but it seems to be a non-party election as no party owns the contestants.
No political party has so far put in place any mechanism to select candidates. All parties face the same dilemma. Even the ruling PML-N has not bothered to form boards to provide party tickets to contestants. PML-N sources said that initially the job to organise local bodies’ polls was entrusted to Hamza Shahbaz. He was given a mandate to preside over the selection process.
Initially, on a party level it was decided that committees featuring local MNAs/MPAs will be formed to select and finalise list of candidates. But so far nothing has happened as being conceived initially.
A PML-N leader said that in his area (Lower Mall) the party had sent former MPA Asad Ashraf to select candidates. He met workers and interviewed the candidates. “Nothing came out of this exercise. In fact process was abruptly halted without any intimation. We did not either see similar exercise being conducted in other areas,” he informed.
It seems that the PML-N leadership is not ready to get into any trouble or open a Pandora’s box, knowing that several party workers and supporters are in the race. Hence, the intentions are loud and clear. The party will select from the candidates in the race after the nomination phase starting from December 22.
The party leadership has advised its MNAs and MPAs to stay away from the campaign. But the candidates are showing MNAs and ministers on their back as evident from their advertising campaign.
PML-N MNA Pervaiz Malik said the candidates have a little clue whether elections would be held or not. “Now signs are clear that we are headed for election as per schedule given by the ECP. We will initiate the process of selection between December 20 and 22,” he assured.
The PTI seems more enthusiastic about the polls and. It seems as if it has also kept its options open. Interestingly, it is more involved in other issues than picking leaders for the elections. It has called a party meeting on December 16 to decide its future line of action on the polls. There is a likelihood that it might approach courts to get a verdict against the recent LB laws passed by the Punjab Assembly that gives powers to returning office to remove the presiding officer anytime during the polling.
PTI Punjab President Ejaz Chaudhry has announced to move the court to ensure free and fair elections.
“We do not foresee elections being held in transparent manner. So are fully ready to go to LHC to get justice.” Probably, the PML (N), which initially was not much interested in holding elections, will not mind if the PTI and other parties approach the court. In that case it will not be blamed for any delay in the polls in the process.
The PPP and PML-Q too are least prepared. They were not expecting the LB polls to take place in the first place.
The smaller parties think that they would pick the candidates once the bigger parties completed their selection.