LAHORE - The defeat in PP-72 Faisalabad, has attracted attention of the PML-N leadership to the flaws and follies which resulted in the failure of its candidate to retain the seat the party had won in the May 11th general elections.
It is very interesting to know that in the May elections, the PML-N had bagged 18 of the total of 22 Provincial Assembly seats in Faisalabad while all the other seats went to the independents and not won by any mainstream political party which had also fielded their candidates.
In the subsequent time, the independents also sided with the PML-N viewing that nobody can dare challenge its might in this central part of the Punjab.
In August 22 by-election the PML-N had lost the Rajanpur seat that was vacated by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. But the party did not feel much of it as the May victory was gain for the party in the area where its rivals had the sway in the past elections.
On the contrary after Lahore, Faisalabad is the most trusted district of the PML-N as in every election the party has been capitalizing on the trend of Faisalabad voters to woo the voters in other districts of the province.
As such the party cannot afford to lose its grip in this district.
Particularly at the moment when the PML-N is bracing for Local Government elections and meltdown in the popularity graph of the party in this bastion, that too just in a span of four months of the PML-N government, is simply unaffordable. The LB election in Punjab would be held in the first week of December and the PTI has thrown it might in Faisalabad, which is quite worrisome for the party.
The party insiders say that the defeat in PP-72 election received a sharp reaction by the party high command and it abruptly went down to know the reasons. It held a preliminary probe and started work to know what went wrong.
In a talk show recently, the Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif termed the defeat for a price the PML-N government is paying in its drive to resolve the serious issue of energy crisis.
The Minister was quite candid in his remarks while the Provincial Law Minister Rana Sanaullah during a media interaction, took the defeat not as something unusual in the by-election wherein, he said, the candidate and the voters perform in low spirits.
Here the question why not this low profile attitude of the voters affected the PTI candidate but to PML-N which also rules the province. It shows that behind the scene there is something more than what meets the eyes.
Although the Punjab LB election would be held on non-party basis, it would carry most of the features of the party elections.
Looking at the past LB elections held on non-party basis, we see the political parties fielding the candidates under one symbol although it was different from what was awarded in the general elections and they controlled the campaign for one central point while office-bearers at the lower ranks performing in the same manner as seen in the national polls.
The same practice is very much in the sight in the upcoming elections in the Punjab.
Like others, the PML-N also realises well the value of a firm hold on the democratic process at the grass root level for the sake of obtaining a favourable public opinion and have tension-free rule at the Centre and the province.
As such the party taking the defeat seriously has formed a committee headed by Hamza Shahbaz Sharif to take stock of the matter.
Sources stated that the committee will meet after return of Hamza Shahbaz from abroad and work out a strategy to satisfy the demands of the electorate.
The sources say the committee would also act to iron out differences among the party legislators in Faisalabad.
The coming days are very important with regard to LB polls and Faisalabad particularly.