ISLAMABAD: PML-N will not field any candidate in the upcoming but important July 19 by-polls in NA-151, Multan, the constituency vacated by ex-PM Gilani after his after disqualification.
The move is seen by analysts as a success of the PPP’s strategy to divide PML-N and PTI and win elections in Punjab. The contest will now be between Abdul Qadir Gilani and Shaukat Bosan, former is son of ex-Prime Minister while the latter is brother of Sikandar Bosan (Now in PTI), arch rival of Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani in this constituency who defeated him in 1997 polls on PML-N ticket and in 2002 elections on PML-Q ticket.
PTI rejected a PML-N offer to bring a consensus “PML-N” candidate in these by-elections and in return PML-N will not field any candidate against Sikandar Bosan in the next general elections.
But after the latest developments, analysts are clear that the present situation would lead to a victory of PPP given the specific situation of constituency politics in the area and this will give another opportunity to former prime minister to continue spitting his venom against the judiciary that the ‘court of people’ will decide in his party’s favour despite the fact the constitutional courts have decided against him.
PTI leaders say that PML-N should support its candidate so both can defeat Gilani’s candidate whereas PML-N has a different strategy to achieve the same objective but both parties have failed to reach a consensus and finally PML-N has quit the race.
According to analysts, the ground facts are that mostly the vote bank in this constituency historically remains loyal to personalities and not to parties. Sikandar Hayat Bosan has a vote bank of around 45,000 with Gilani having almost the same or even a little higher number of voters.
Previous election trends show that PML-N has merely a vote bank of 17,000 to 18,000 in the constituency. This specific situation simply reflects that a triangular contest will result in the victory of Abdul Qadir Gilani not because of any issue but simply because of the historical vote divide between the personalities.
PML-N stated on June 25, 2012 that the party has formally offered Sikandar Bosan to contest elections on the PML-N ticket but he had refused. Sikandar Bosan had also confirmed the same to The News.
Later, PTI decided to continue its boycott of by-elections and thus Shaukat Bosan, brother of Sikandar Bosan was launched as an independent candidate not to give the Gilanis a free run. PML-N was to award the ticket to one of its many aspiring candidates, most probably, Malik Ishaq Bucha but now he/they will contest as independents.
On Monday, July 2, 2012, Sardar Zulfqar Khosa, Raja Ashfaq Sarwar and Pervaiz Rashid went to Multan to negotiate with Sikandar Bosan at the home of a common friend Athar Khakwani on the point that a triangular contest will only result in the victory of Gilani whereas if PML-N and PTI succeeded in bringing forward a consensus candidate he will easily win.
According to sources, it was argued by PML-N side that because of this local constituency situation, Gilani will continue his propaganda against the Supreme Court that although he was rejected by the judiciary, the “court of the people” still accepted him.
PML-N offered that Shaukat Bosan may contest election on a ticket of PML-N or he may withdraw in favour of PML-N candidate so that Gilani may be defeated and stopped to continue his campaign against the judiciary.
The PML-N team also argued during the meeting that if SC is handing down great judgments, which both the parties support publicly, PTI and PML-N should also work to strengthen the institution. “This is not some personal or constituency politics issue but it will emerge as a national issue at the end,” PML-N side argued.
PML-N offered that if Shaukat contests elections on PML-N ticket or Sikandar Bosan supported its candidate, PML-N will not field its candidate against Sikandar Bosan in the general elections. However, Sikandar Bosan refused to accept any of these conditions
PTI leaders in Multan say that Shaukat will contest with full force and will defeat Gilani’s son but it is not possible for the Bosans to contest on a PML-N ticket or support PML-N candidate because of the party policy.