ISLAMABAD - The defeat in 15 constituencies of Punjab has definitely made the PDM more cautious about fielding the candidates in next by-elections on eleven vacant national assembly seats.

The ruling alliance of eleven parties has constitutionally two months time for selecting suitable candidates against the nine winning members of PTI in different constituencies from KPK, Punjab and Sindh.

The acceptance of only eleven resignations by the Speaker National Assembly has initiated a new debate, as to why the fate of the rest of 120 MNAs [resigned from their seats] is still a mystery. The Speaker has also yet not shared any reason of selecting the 11 PTI MNAs constituencies.

Political pundits have started guessing that the ruling clique might be scared of its recent defeat in the Punjab by-elections. The main coalition partners of PML-N, in the drawing room meetings, have clearly conveyed their reservations over selection of candidates on most of the seats. The ruling party, in response, also blamed some of its main allies for not properly supporting them in the field. The time margin, they viewed, might help the PDM in selecting the ‘suitable’ candidates.

The Speaker National Assembly had approved the resignation of nine constituencies including four from Khyber Pakhthunkhas (KPK), three from Sindh and two from Punjab. The candidates in KPK, according to the results of general elections 2018, bagged these seats by a heavy margin whereas an equal competition was on three seats of Sindh. The recent results over the seats of Punjab suggest that a real competition will be on three vacant seats of Punjab Faisalabad [NA-108] and Nankana Sahib [NA-118] and NA-156 [Multan]. A tough competition is also expected on NA-245 [Karachi] as candidates of MQM-P, PTI and PDM are set to contest on it.

Talking to this newspaper, PPP-P’s senior member/ Adviser to PM on Kashmir Affairs Qamar Zaman Qaira said that the controversial narrative of PTI’s chairman Imran Khan, factors of inflation and selection of candidates were reasons of the defeat. “Definitely, we learnt from previous experience and now in this bye-polls we will reclaim national assembly seats,” he commented.

Having almost the same arguments, a senior PML-N parliamentarian/ Minister for Human Rights Riaz Hussain Pirzada said that the recent defeat in bye-elections was even unexpected for PTI. “Multiple factors favoured the PTI, but in the next elections situation would be changed,” he remarked confidently

On the other hand, PTI is once again optimistic to grab all the nine seats of the national assembly but at the same time unwilling to sit in the assembly. This ambiguity might be negative for the party. It will be tricky for Imran Khan to convince his charged voters in these constituencies as he has continuously been demanding fresh elections in the country.

Political experts viewed that the increase in the prices of petroleum products played an important role in changing the minds of voters. Khan, in his previous election campaign, never forgot to pass the buck on to the PML-N government for the deteriorating economic situation in the country.