With elections less than a month away, we are already being subject to the hullabaloo of party campaigns. Political parties are embroiled in their campaigns, decorating the streets with their posters and holding rallies to scavenge votes. One party, however, is strangely silent.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had been known as a powerhouse for campaigning, with the party investing huge sums into its street campaigns and advertisements. In the previous years, PML-N has both been able to draw in huge crowds in its rallies and demonstrated a knack for door-to-door canvassing, which has given it an edge in the voting booths over other parties.

This season, however, the party’s campaign has been almost missing, with no real attempts by PML-N to engage its voters. There have been no big rallies or passionate speeches, and PML-N leaders are mostly silent. With Nawaz and Maryam in London, the strength of the campaign lies on the shoulders of Shahbaz and Hamza Sharif, who are better suited to administrative roles than charismatic campaigning ones. There has been some effort from Shahbaz to lead the PML-N election campaign, but those too have been minimal, or if one consider his comments on Karachi, counter-intuitive.

Justifiably, it has been a hard time for PML-N this year. The party has seen a myriad of troubles since the ouster of its president, Nawaz, and those have only worsened close to the elections. The party has seen some of its loyal leaders, like Chaudhry Nisar and Zaeem Qadri, depart, along with many minor candidates switching to PTI or PPP. Thus it is easy to see why the party may not have campaigning as its first priority.

Yet, despite its struggles, PML-N has always managed to struggle through and maintain its voter’s base. Any other party whose president was disqualified would have broken apart, but PML-N was able to hold on to its support and go on to win by-elections. “Vote’s respect” has been the party’s logo and indeed, its voters have been the party’s biggest strength, which has not wavered (even after numerous disqualifications) - until now, as PML-N’s lackluster campaigning appears to have weakened its position for the elections.

It is understandable why Nawaz and Maryam, with the illness of Begum Kalsoom, have not found time to invest in campaigning. However, their negligence is resulting in a decisive hit in the party’s popularity at a time when it needs it the most.