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May 16, 2018

Comment: Myth of victory of electables


May 16, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Will the upcoming polls explode the generally perceived myth of fairly sure victory of “electables”, contesting as independent candidates or the nominees of political parties?

If the successive general elections are any guide, electables have been returning in a sizable number. But not everyone, who is presented as a “winnable”, has been victorious. When the political parties are weak and lack organisational structure at different tiers and did not have strong, committed followings, the electables hold sway.

Because of the protracted election campaign kick-started much before the forthcoming polls, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Sharif (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and other forces have done a good job to attract voters and create awareness about siding with the political entities instead of individuals.

As this consciousness intensifies, it tends to diminish the dominant say of electables in their constituencies to a great extent, but as they still enjoy the support of a considerable number of supporters, it makes them relevant and weighty for the political parties to take them in their fold in a maximum number.

There was only one general election held in the seventies when the electables had a run for their life. At the time, the PPP had ruled the roost and had turned tables on such elements. It had defeated a number of towering politicians, who had been winning consecutive polls owing to their personal hold and grip in their areas.

While awarding tickets to candidates, almost all political parties keep in mind the standing of the aspirants in their constituencies so that they have a large number of voters readily available to back them. The parties feel that their own tally coupled with the following of the contestants will produce victory for them.

Apart from this personal influence, the parties also pay a great attention to the financial position of the candidates as fighting elections entails huge funds. The competitors who are in a poor financial state to effectively run their campaign may lose unless the party they are affiliated with has the funds to furnish its nominee and is very, very strong in the concerned area.

Besides the personal power of the nominated candidates and their good financial condition, the local groupings in the districts also matter a lot in elections. Due to these groupings, if one set of candidates support one particular political party, its local rivals will certainly go to the other. District politics is always very dear and important for every politician.

One can become a provincial, national and international politician only after winning in the home district, carrying along its powerful persons and groups. Although the principal parties like the PML-N, PTI and PPP are engaged in massive, long drawn out campaigning, yet they are desperately looking for and are more than willing to welcome electables with open arms. In this mad race, principles propagated by political parties at a sonorous pitch are always the first major casualty.

Among them, the PTI has attracted a number of electables from the PPP and PML-N. Some of them are the ones, who had been working with these parties for quite some time while others are known for switching loyalties on the eve of every general election. A predominant majority of the turncoats who have joined the PTI do not have bright prospects to win especially in Punjab. But some of them may carry the day.

The Punjab has experienced the maximum movement of electables with the major chunk emerging from the PML-N from the Saraiki belt, which first assembled under the umbrella of Janoobi Punjab Sooba Mahaz (JPSM) and joined the PTI before it had less than one-month life.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has seen a mixed trend as turncoats have gone to different political parties. In Sindh, the PPP is the favourite destination of the electables. In Balochistan, the entire parliamentary party of the PML-N raced away and formed the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP).

The PML-N has announced that it will expose the weathercocks in their constituencies during the election campaign. It feels that the phenomenon of the electables will not work in the fresh elections as the voters are now attached with political parties instead of individuals.

The PPP has also highlighted the view that all those who left it and joined the PTI will be at a loss in the polls as people will not forgive them for changing sides for expediency and personal interests.

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