LAHORE - A major stumbling bloc to reaching an agreement between the PPP and PML-Q on seat adjustments has been removed; as the two allies have now reached an understanding to keep around 70 Punjab and National Assembly seats open to ‘electables’ irrespective of which party gets the major share. “Electability would now be the sole criterion in respect of seats to be vacated by the turncoats in both the parties. These constituencies are now open to potential candidates from the two sides”, PML-Q’s central Secretary Information Kamil Ali Agha told TheNation. The two parties had earlier struck a deal according to which the winner and the runner-up of the last election was to be their joint candidate in upcoming electoral battles. But the problem arose over the seats held by members of the PML-Q forward bloc in Punjab Assembly who would now be contesting on PML-N tickets. When the Q-league had laid its claim on these seats, the PPP had then argued that since the deserters were no more with the PML-Q, it had lost the right to give candidates on these seats as per the adjustment formula. Meanwhile, a dozen of PPP legislators from Punjab Assembly and a few from the National Assembly changed their loyalties to join the PML-N and the PTI. IF the seat adjustment formula was to be applied, almost all seats went to the PML-Q for the reason that latter’s candidates were the runner ups in these constituencies in the last elections. This was not acceptable to the PPP. In total, some 70 members of the Punjab Assembly and over a dozen from National Assembly belonging to the PML-Q and PPP have defected to other parties, the main beneficiary being the PML-N. It is on these seats that PPP and PML-Q would have to build consensus on joint candidates in the coming days. “Now the two sides have agreed to keep the seats open and field ‘electables’ against their political opponents no matter which political party, PPP or PML-Q, they belong to”, PPP’s Tanvir Ashraf Kaira also confirmed the development when contacted by this scribe. Kaira also informed that a joint committee comprising PPP and PML-Q leaders was going to meet next week, most probably in Lahore, to thrash out the modalities regarding selection of joint candidates on the seats which have been made open for the two parties. Shaukat Basra of PPP said that the seat adjustment formula in its present form enabled the two sides to select the best candidate even if he/she was not a runner up. It is relevant to mention here that seat adjustment bargain with PML-Q has already cost the PPP over 32 Punjab and some 40 National Assembly constituencies where it would not be fielding its candidates in the coming polls as part of the deal. It would also have to concede another 10 to 12 provincial seats to its ally because of recent defections from the party. They are. Sardar Kamil Gujjar (Sargodha), Rana Munawar Ghous (Sargodha), Javid Alauddin (Okara), Shah Jehan Bhatti (Nankana), Ahmad Hasan Deharr (Multan), Abbas Raan (Multan), Nishat Daha (Khanewal), Rana Babar (Khanewal), Jamil Shah (Khanewal) and Shamshair Wattoo (Faisalabad). Of these, Abbas Raan intends to take part in the upcoming polls on PTI ticket, while the rest are all set to use PML-N’s platform for the purpose. It may be a mere coincidence but it is a fact that PML-Q candidates were the runner ups in 2008 polls from these constituencies, and hence the seats would go to the PML-Q.