Post-election scenario: PP unification, opposition split pays off

Chaudhry formed the People’s Muslim League after his removal from the party a few months prior to the 2006 election.

MUZAFFARABAD: 

The timely reunification of People’s Party factions coupled with a split within the ruling Muslim Conference (MC) before the election led the latter to a humiliating defeat in the polls at the hands of the former.

The situation faced by the MC just a month before election was also similar to that faced by the PP before the 2006 elections, after its split into two following then  party president Sultan Mehmood Chaudhry’s decision to nominate a close friend for a Kashmir Council seat, against Benazir Bhutto’s nominee.

Chaudhry formed the People’s Muslim League after his removal from the party a few months prior to the 2006 election. As a result, the PP vote bank was divided between the two candidates and the MC, which kept itself intact, witnessed a landslide victory, with the PP only winning eight seats.

History repeats itself

The merger of Chaudhry’s party with the PP and taking former Prime Minister Sardar Yaqub into the party fold made the PP a strong contender against the Muslim League-Nawaz (ML-N) and MC.

The MC’s split into two sealed its fate. Notably, the lopsided number of seats won by the PP does not reflect the fact that the ML-N and MC candidates combined got more votes than the winning PP candidates.

This also paralleled the situation in 2006, with the PP and People’s Muslim League candidates getting far more votes between them than the winning Muslim Conference candidates.

PP also lost a few seats in this election again because the PP divided itself during the Kashmir Council elections and certain rebelling candidates contested as independents against the party’s own nominees after refusal of party ticket.

The results of the elections were in line with expectations, keeping in mind that the birth of the ML-N from the MC’s ranks, and it was also expected that the ML-N would win more seats than the MC owing to the political scenario in Pakistan and hectic electioneering by the Sharif brothers.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2011.

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