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May 10, 2013

PPP eyes 90 seats, 68 for PML-N and 45 for PTI

May 10, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Although opinion surveys and analyses generally write off the Pakistan People’s Party in tomorrow’s general elections and the popular guess is that it will retain around 50 seats, top PPP leadership is very confident to bag around 90 National Assembly seats.
How accurate is this estimate will only be known soon after tomorrow’s (Saturday) elections as majority would merely laugh it off as the party is generally considered to have lost popularity due to its bad governance in last five-year.
However, assuming this claim is grounded in reality means the party will retain the strength it acquired in 2008 elections when it won 91 seats. However, PPP’s estimate is contrary to its performance in by-elections.
While other surveys put PML-N in the leading position, the PPP has estimated approximately 68 seats for PML-N, 45 for PTI, 24 for MQM, 10 for PML-Q, seven for ANP, four for PML-F, five for JUI-F and six for Mutahidda Deeni Mohaz.
A study by Fair and Free Elections Network (FAFEN) found that PPP was able to retain a little more than half of the polling stations where it had received majority votes in the 2008 elections as it won from 1146 polling stations (from the constituencies where by-elections were held) compared with 601 stations later on.
In contrast, PML-N retained the highest number of polling stations, 1164 (75%) during by-elections comparing them with 2008 polls in the same constituencies when they were 1542.
Background discussions with PPP circles affiliated with top leadership suggest that party has conducted country-wide exercise to ascertain the position of their candidates in different constituencies and is optimist to win enough seats for cobbling together an alliance with former allies like MQM, JUI-F and ANP. Other than its own assessment, the eyes and ears of Presidency also helped reach the ‘conclusion’, according to a leader who is closely affiliated with the top leadership.
They attribute

their likely success to Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), which they believe is paying them back in the rural constituencies.
Another study carried out in February 2012 determined that as many as 1,974 families per 100,000 people benefited in Punjab from BISP, PPP’s flagship programme that was the brainchild of PML-N Senator Ishaq Dar who floated this proposal during his two-month stint as finance minister under Prime Minister Gilani. He floated the idea, which was later used by the PPP government for political mileage. Sindh got the highest number of BISP beneficiaries as 6,829 families per 100,000 people received financial assistance through this scheme.
In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, this ratio was 5,155 families per 100,000 people. It was 4,858 families per 100,000 in Balochistan. Division-wise BISP’s beneficiaries per 100,000 people were as follows: Thatha got the highest share where 17,794 families received assistance, followed by Badin (12,687), Dera Ghazi Khan (13,105), Khairpur (10,636), Multan (6,764) and Larkana 5,317.
The PPP assessment is not in round figures, they have also enlisted their potential winners from different National Assembly constituencies. Added to their findings of party candidates is also the assessment of other parties’ ticket holders. Going by this estimate means that PML-N has not improved its vote bank since it bagged 69 seats in 2008.

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