PTI, PML-N scramble for Punjab CM slot

Source:  ARY News Published in Current Affairs on Sunday, July 29, 2018

LAHORE: After failure to win an outright majority to form a government in the country’s largest province, Punjab, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) have focused all their energies on winning over independents and other political parties to reach the magical number to clinch the coveted slot of Punjab chief minister.

Both the rival parties fell short of the required number of seats in the provincial legislature to form a government on their own. The PML-N emerged as the single largest party with 127 seats while the PTI has clinched 123 seats through direct elections.

A neck-to-neck competition between the PML-N and PTI is expected as they have announced they will form the provincial government. Leaders of both parties have already upped efforts to persuade independent candidates to join their respective parties to reach a majority.

The PML-Q stood third with seven seats while the PPP has won six in a 295-house. Whereas, 28 independent candidates made it to the provincial assembly.

The PTI is banking on the PML-Q, which is likely to be its coalition partner in the Centre, and independent candidates to form the government in Punjab.

So far, five newly-elected independent candidates from south Punjab have joined the PTI after meeting PM-in-waiting Imran Khan at his residence in Islamabad.

They include Syed Hussain Jahanian Gardezi from PP-204 (Khanewal-II), Muhammad Basharat Randhawa from PP-282 (Layyah-III), Syed Rafaqat Ali Gillani from PP-284 (Layyah-V) and Hanif Khan Pitafi from PP-289 (Dera Gazi Khan).

– PML-N contacts PPP, PML-Q – 

A day earlier, PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif met with PPP leader Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood in Lahore to discuss a coalition government in the province.

Sources say former National Assembly speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq will met with PML-Q leaders – Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Ilahi – today to persuade them to support the former ruling party in its bid to form the provincial government.

Shehbaz is also expected to meet the PPP leadership today in this regard.