MANDI BAHAUDDIN-The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) has split into three factions in Mandi Bahauddin, especially on the issue of party tickets for the upcoming general elections.

One of the three factions is led by Shahid Ranjha, Falak Sher Ranjha and Liaqat Ranjha claimed as PTI founders in the district and intend to contest election for the seats of NA 108, PP 116 and PP 118 respectively.

Other group consists of Ijaz Chaudhry, Javed Kakoana and Arshad Kakku. They also are aspirants of contesting the elections for the same seats. And the other group is formed by PPP deserters including Nazar Gondal, Tariq Raika and Waseem Chun.

The PTI Youth Convention was held at a local marriage hall under the arrangement of Ranjha Group amidst enthusiasm witnessed among the youth. The convention welcomed new comers including Waseem Chun and vowed to make Imran Khan the next prime minister of the country.

In general opinion, Ranjha Group members deserve preference for the grant of election tickets over the new comers. However, the convention participants said they would accept the decision of central leadership regarding the tickets.

PTI was founded in 1996. Its chairman Imran Khan launched membership campaign across the country and participated in elections 1997. In Mandi Bahauddin Pakistan EX-Servicemen Society’s senior member Brig (r) Raja Khursheed contested election for provincial seat of Malakwal Tehsil, now PP-119 on PTI ticket. Ex-Servicemen of the area with their limited resources contacted voters in each locality of the constituency but could not win the seat. Thus, the ex-servicemen were the first in this district to introduce PTI and its manifesto.

Later in 2002, PTI won one NA seat from Mianwali. In 2008 it boycotted elections. Thereafter in Mandi Bahauddin district, Liaqat Ranjha, Shahid Raza Ranjha and Falik Sher Ranjha started movement to promote PTI.

With their dedicated struggle, the membership of PTI increased manifold and the party grew as a strong political force. In election 2013, PTI received 7.5 million votes, making it second in number of votes and third in number of seats. In KPK it won 25 general and 6 women and one minority seats and being in majority formed KPK government. It also won 20 general, five women and one non-Muslim seats in Punjab.

The party showed its popularity in Sindh by winning three general and one woman seats. This was incredible achievement of PTI. However the party did not win any seat from Mandi Bahauddin. On the other hand PPP also failed in winning even a single seat and suffered defeat at the hands of PML-N whose candidates won all the seats of two NA and five Provincial seats in Mandi district. The local leaders of PPP were deeply disappointed over increasing popularity of PTI.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan won Panama case against Nawaz Sharif who was disqualified as member of National Assembly and consequently had to quit as PM.

These further jolted PPP leaders and they started joining PTI after leaving PPP. Now almost all the old stalwarts of PPP except Nadeem Chun are part of PTI.

On their sudden joining PTI, old workers and leaders of PTI are greatly worried about their future in the party. They fear that new comers would be granted ticket for contesting coming elections and they would be ignored.