PPP banks on Bilawal rallies to boost position in Punjab

ISLAMABAD   -   Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is banking on a few successful rallies by party chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to improve its standing in Punjab after poor performances in the last two general elections. As the nation­al elections approach, political ana­lysts closely scrutinize the PPP’s prospects, particular­ly in Punjab, historically a crucial battleground. The party’s historical prominence, dating back to its foundation in 1967, has witnessed fluctuations, with recent setbacks in Punjab.

Winning only seven seats in 2018 compared to 93 in 2008 suggests challenges in the province, and analysts attribute this to strategic decisions, alliances, and shifts in voter allegiance over the years. This time, the influx of former lawmakers and politicians from rival parties into the PPP’s ranks, especially in southern Punjab, under­scores PPP supremo Asif Ali Zardari’s adept po­litical maneuvering.

This strategic move suggests a calculated effort to revitalize the party’s presence in specific re­gions, indicating a potential resurgence.

Despite these gains, the overall PPP popularity, outside of its stronghold in Sindh, raises pertinent questions about its ability to reclaim a national­ly dominant position. Analysts discern a contrast in leadership styles of Zardari and Bilawal, with Zardari adopts pragmatism and Bilawal displays emotional assertiveness. The ability to balance assertiveness with strategic decision-making be­comes pivotal for the PPP’s electoral success, es­pecially in a political landscape marked by evolv­ing voter expectations. Bilawal’s use of symbolic language in contrasting the PPP’s arrow symbol with the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) tiger symbol reveals a nuanced strategy aimed at cre­ating a vivid metaphorical contrast. By character­izing the tiger as a bloodsucker of youth, Bilawal seeks to evoke powerful imagery that frames the PML-N as a predatory force.

This narrative not only taps into emotive responses but also positions the PPP as the antidote, urging vot­ers to choose the arrow symbol to counter the per­ceived threat. The recent rally held in Gujrat serves as a strategic platform for Bilawal to not only criticise the opposition but also to unveil an ambitious elector­al platform. The promises made, including free electric­ity, housing projects, and support programs, indicate a conscious effort by the PPP to position itself as a party focused on socio-economic development and welfare. These pledges are crafted to appeal to a diverse elec­torate, reflecting an understanding of the varied con­cerns and aspirations of the populace. Yesterday, the PPP strategically unveiled plans to host an election rally at Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi tomorrow (Janu­ary 28), a move rich in historical symbolism that aims to tap into emotional resonances tied to the tragic as­sassination of Benazir Bhutto in 2007.

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt