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Internal rift, nepotism cost PTI dearly in LG elections

Internal rift, nepotism cost PTI dearly in LG elections

PESHAWAR: The local government election has been a replay of the general elections where Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf suffered due to internal rifts and nepotism in distribution of election tickets.

Brothers, relatives and nominees of the ministers and MPAs were rejected by ideological people who had voted to the Imran Khan-led party in the hope of change. Defeat tasted by brothers of MPA Fazal Hakim and MPA Yasin Khalil and relatives of chief minister’s adviser Arif Yousaf in Peshawar are classic examples in this regard.

In many districts, cousins of the lawmakers were rejected by people. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar lost ground to rival parties in his native Swabi, more so because the people there didn’t trust PTI. Mr Qaisar’s another brother was an elected MNA. The people’s response in Mardan is noteworthy. The Awami National Party emerged on the scene due to selection of better candidates.

In Rustam, Mardan, ANP’s Ishaq Khan won the UC seat against the PTI candidate in May 30 polls. In Swabi, the people didn’t vote for Awami Jamhoori Ittehad Pakistan, a close ally of the PTI in the KP government. The people registered their protest in LG polls against PTI in other districts, too.

Unlike other provinces, it’s not easy to win seats in KP districts like Mardan and other central areas on the basis of wealth, influence or money.

The PTI’s ideological lot had been holding protests and press conferences against award of tickets before the local government polls. The cries went unheard.

But as they say, they wouldn’t give a walkover to those who had hijacked the party after winning the intra-party polls by virtue of which they had later the party tickets and managed to become part of the KP government. The same elections have now been declared by the PTI election tribunal null and void because of fraud.

There’s always an atmosphere of war between the new and old PTI workers. The latter refer themselves as ideological and vow to battle the new entrants who had nothing to do with PTI’s agenda of change. MPAs and MNAs who actually allotted tickets in the LG polls ignored prominent workers who won as independents. The results could have been better for PTI had it distributed the tickets on merit.

Fayaz Khalil, a senior provincial leader, won the election in independent capacity, defeating several candidates only because the PTI voters went with him in UC-49, Tehkal, Peshawar.

Atif Haleem of PTI failed to become member of Town-1 in the presence of a man who ran independently and received votes from ideological workers. In Southern districts, the party lost seats due to award of tickets to wrong people.

Sardar Sher Bahadur, the PTI president of Abbottabad district, won his district seat not on the party ticket, but as an independent candidate. He was known by people as a real worker who supported the agenda of making ‘new Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’.

In UC-40, PTI’s Arbab Shafaat lost to PPP’s Arbab Zarak. The former could have won had the ideological workers not been in the contest who together grabbed five times more votes than the margin by which the PTI ticket-holder lost.

PTI’s Mujahid Ali faced a similar problem in UC-36, Peshawar. In Palosai UC in Peshawar, the PTI candidate was at fourth position on the list of vote-getters as an old party member hadn’t been given ticket due to which the diehard workers didn’t turn up, like they did in the last election.

An earlier version of the story had erroneously included the name of MPA Atif Khan among those whose family members had suffered defeat. The mistake is regretted.

Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2015

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