MUBASHIR HASSAN and JAWAD R AWAN
LAHORE - Serious differences have emerged between the PPP and the PML-Q as the former accuses the latter of flouting a seat adjustment agreement the two had reached for the upcoming elections.
According to the formula agreed by the two coalition partners in the Centre, one party would not field its contestants in constituencies won by the other’s candidates in the last election. And, in case of constituencies won by the PML-N, the party whose candidate was runner-up in 2008 elections would have the right on that constituency.
The PPP says that its junior partner awarded tickets to its candidates without consultation and even for some of those constituencies where it had not won in the previous election. The PPP leaders think that this solo flight on the part of the PML-Q is a violation of the agreement.
In this context, the award of tickets by the PML-Q to Dr Azimuddin Lakhvi and Akhtar Noul in Kasur district is being resented by the PPP, which is also wary of the PML-Q’s decision of distributing development funds to its candidates in constituencies in which PPP has the right to field candidates as per the agreement.
“In today’s meeting with the PML-Q leaders, the PPP would seek revision of the agreement in respect of such constituencies where the PML-Q candidates won but later either they joined some other party or formed forward block against their parent party,” Shaukat Mehmood Basra, a member of the PPP’s negotiating team, told The Nation on Tuesday.
PML-Q’s Kamil Ali Agha, who is part of the PML-Q seat adjustment committee, said that his party wanted reassessment of the ground situation in certain constituencies before fielding joint candidates. He said that a meeting between the seat adjustment committees of the two alliance partners would take place at the residence of Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi today (Wednesday).
Sources say that while giving a final shape to the seats adjustment, the PML-Q leadership plans seeking special concessions at least in seven Punjab districts – Jhang, Khanewal, Mandi Bahauddin, Sialkot, Sargodha, Bahawalpur and, above all, Gujrat, the hometown of Chaudharys – as they believe they have strong roots in these districts.
However, they said that the party high command might face resistance in getting such concessions in Mandi Bahauddin, Khanewal and some parts of Sargodha where the PPP enjoys majority.
When contacted, Senator Kamil Ali Agha said, “Generally the two partners will follow the already set formula however exceptions will definitely be made in some parts of the province in view of the changing political alignments.”
When asked about the fate of constituencies where PML-Q had won but later the candidates concerned changed political loyalties, he insisted that such seats would remain with the PML-Q and it would field its candidates there with the support of the PPP.
However, some party insiders said the PML-Q could forego its right to the PPP in some of such constituencies where it does not have electables in exchange for special favours in other constituencies where the PPP has a first right but Q has a better voter position.
Agha said that in constituencies won previously by PML-N, the two coalition partners would launch best possible contenders, which may belong to either of them, keeping in view the local political realities.