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ANALYSIS: PML-N won despite being rattled in its stronghold -PTI performs well, PPP gets decimated

The much-awaited polling day for Lahore’s coveted NA-122 constituency came to an end yesterday and when the dust was settled and the votes were counted, PML-N’s Sardar Ayaz Sadiq emerged the victor with a narrow margin.

As stated earlier, the major political stakeholders had something to prove when it came to Lahore’s prized NA-122 constituency. For Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), it was a battle to reinstate their legitimacy and deliver a crystal-clear message to all: that PML-N was here via popular mandate, as opposed to a muk-muka. With Ayaz Sadiq’s victory, that was finally apparent for all to witness. However, it did expose some glitches in the PML-N itself, which it should take care of before heading for the local bodies elections.

As far as Imran Khan’s PTI was concerned, this could have been the perfect opportunity for Imran to seize the Nawaz-led government by its throat and pummel them to the ground. The PTI chairman had given it all- vociferous accusations were hurled at PML-N and impassioned slogans for transparent elections were made. Imran’s petition had done the damage; his Aitchison classmate had been de-seated from the parliament and forced to shed his Speaker robes. All the cricketer-turned-politician needed now was a perfectly timed yorker to skittle Ayaz’s wicket and take home NA-122. However, Aleem Khan did trouble his opponent but could not deliver the decisive blow.

NA-122

NA-122

The reactions came as expected; Army personnel stationed outside ‘sensitive’ polling stations, CCTV cameras installed and a vigilant Election Commission ensured that the election would remain transparent. Imran never lets go an opportunity to point fingers and place blame; however, this time around, he wasn’t granted one. As joyful PML-N supporters took to the streets, distributing sweets and chanting pro-Nawaz slogans, it became apparent to all that Nawaz-league was indeed here to stay, and that Lahore was not lost for the time being. Imran had to content with a fair-and-square loss, which he acknowledge in a series of tweets and vowed to investigate the issue of PTI votes being diverted to other constituencies.

NA-122

However, not all was lost for the PTI, who had demonstrated that it did enjoy popularity in PML-N’s political den and stronghold. Aleem Khan gave Ayaz Sadiq a run for his money and it wasn’t until late into the night, that a final outcome could be predicted. PTI did salvage something; PP-147 was won by PTI’s Shoaib Siddiqui. Aleem Khan was never considered the favourite to win NA-122 but neither did anyone expect such a nail-biting contest between the two candidates.

NA-122

Kudos to the man for contesting and giving a tough time to his opponent; who enjoyed a sitting government’s support. The defeat, however impressive, is yet another by-election for the PTI in string of losses. Imran should work on a better strategy and focus more on development projects, rather than indulge in mud-slinging and finger-pointing.

NA-122

PML-N gloated over the victory, as they had every right to do so. Maryam Nawaz was particularly ecstatic and her tweets were doing the rounds on social media, after PTI’s defeat.

Whether or not we see Ayaz Sadiq return to the parliamentary fold again as Speaker is irrelevant for the time being- what counts is that PML-N were forced to play by PTI’s rules and they had come out on top. This seems to be a crucial victory for the party ahead of the impending local bodies elections and has certainly boosted confidence among the party’s voters and the general masses, that PML-N’s mandate is credible. With this win, Nawaz Sharif might have earned the moral victory that seemed to have eluded him, ever since he took over the reins of the country.

NA-122

NA-122

For the Pakistan Peoples Party, nothing could be more alarming or devastating. The party, which suffered a shocking defeat in the 2013 General Elections and ever since then, has failed to rejuvenate in Punjab and this election was no better. Pakistan Peoples Party’s candidate for NA-122 Barrister Mian Amir Hassan wasn’t even considered a dark horse, to begin with. His campaigns did not attract huge crowds neither did people have faith in him. Ayaz Sadiq bagged 74,525 votes, Aleem Khan secured 72,082 votes whereas PPP’s Barrister Mian Amir Hassan only collected 819 votes. PPP’s Punjab political wing is in total disarray. A botched leadership, spear-headed on ground by Mian Manzoor Watoo as well as an alliance with PML-Q during their previous stint in power, has angered their workers. The fact that PPP’s current leadership is also holding CEC meetings and taking important decisions from Dubai, has also further disillusioned the masses and generated a wider gap between the party and its workers. Until Mr Zardari doesn’t revamp the party’s political strategy in Punjab completely, the future looks bleak for PPP, which at one time used to sweep Punjab.

NA-122

All in all, it was a good day for PML-N, PTI performed well overall and PPP got decimated, to say the least.

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