MULTAN: The PTI is facing an unwanted situation in the race for the Punjab chief minister’s slot even after party chairman Imran Khan resolved the differences between Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Jahangir Tareen and developed a consensus on nomination of Qureshi.
The reason is the reluctance on the part of a party MPA-elect to vacate the seat for Qureshi, The News has learnt.
Imran played a key role in developing peace between the two party leaders in a meeting held at Bani Gala on Tuesday night, said the PTI insiders who added that the PTI had chalked out a strategy for nominating the candidate through consultation.
It has decided that PTI’s Javed Akhtar Ansari, who had won the election from PP-215 Multan-V, would resign from the slot for Qureshi. He is to contest by-election from NA-156 Multan-III to be vacated by Qureshi.
The PTI has decided for temporary nomination of Aslam Iqbal, who is elected as MPA from Lahore, for the Punjab chief minister office. Later, Qureshi would be elevated to the slot after contesting the by-poll from PP-215.
However, Ansari is reluctant, as his close friends and relatives have confided The News that it is hard for him to vacate the slot for Qureshi. The elders of the Ansari clan have held an informal meeting and discussed the matter. There was a unanimous agreement among them that the voters gave him mandate for five years instead resigning and leaving the seat for Qureshi.
Talking to The News on Wednesday, Ansari was found hesitant to resign from his slot. “I am thankful to my voters for electing me with a huge margin. I would consult my voters and the Ansari elders for a decision on resigning from the slot. However, Qureshi has not asked me to resign or vacate the slot,” he said.
On the other hand, the opposition parties have also planned to field a consensus candidate to ensure the defeat of Qureshi in the by-election.
Talking to The News, former PPP MPA Baboo Nafees Ansari said the PPP, PML-N and MMA might develop a consensus on fielding joint candidate. He said there were bright chances of capturing the slot by the opposition’s unanimous candidate and did not rule out contesting the by-poll on PPP ticket.
Nafees Ansari belongs to the politically-influential Ansari clan and has deep roots in the constituency. In the July 25 general elections, Ansari had grabbed PP-215 after bagging 51,637 votes, while Amir Manzoor Ansari of PML-N managed 31,142 votes. The MMA and the TLP have a safe bank vote of 1,000-1,500 and 3,500-4,000 respectively in the constituency.