ISLAMABAD - The quantum of loss and gain by political parties in Senate elections due to alleged horse-trading would be clear by Thursday evening but the controversy over purchasing the loyalties of MPs of other political parties will surely torpedo the politics of reconciliation and consensus being claimed by major political parties.

Background interviews and discussion with the mainstream political parties revealed that the real tug of war between the major players in the Upper House would start after the Senate elections for the priced slots of Chairman and his deputy.

Parliamentary sources informed The Nation that after the failure of talks between the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party for entering into some agreement for the slots of chairman and deputy chairman, both parties have started lobbying with smaller parties in the Upper House to shore up simple majority required to have these key slots.

PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari wanted his man to step into the shoes of outgoing Chairman Senate Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, who also belongs to his party, and he had rejected the proposition floated by ruling PML-N to take the slot of Senate deputy chairman along with chairmanship of some prized standing committees of the Upper House in lieu of Senate chairmanship.

PPP leadership was of the view that they would again be turning into single largest party in the Upper House after the Senate elections so they should be given the slot of chairman as per moral and constitutional grounds and ruling PML-N should have the position of deputy chairman.

After failing to find some common ground both the parties jumped into the fray with the aim to have maximum seats from all the four provinces as well as federal capital to lead the race for the top slots.

Apparently PPP seemed well poised to be on the top of the list after the elections as even after the retirement of its 21 Senators they would still be left with 19 members in the 104-member house and would surely be getting another seven from Sindh taking the tally to 26. And in case through wheeling-dealing they would surely be adding another couple of Senators in their fold to take its total strength in the house to 28 or 29.

On the other hand PPP would be having in its fold nine Senators of MQM, seven of ANP, four from PML-Q and two from BNP Awami. In case the party would manage to win the support of JUI-F, annoyed ally of ruling PML-N, they would surely be in a position to install their man as Senate chairman.

Ruling PML-N would be going to get maximum up to 18 seats in all taking its tally in the house to 26 but as its allies in the Upper House of the Parliament presently are not in a position to help it clinch the top position. So the party would have to come up with some lucrative offers to estrange coalition partner as well as independents including Fata Senators to attain simple majority in the Upper House.

Political observers commenting on this widening of chasm between the major political forces in the country said that the real horse-trading would start after the Senate elections for two top positions.

Parliamentary sources said that by appointing partisan caretaker chief minister and governor in Gilgit-Baltistan ruling PML-N had hammered last nail in the coffin of politics of reconciliation and consensus, and now they could not have moral ground to raise a finger on PPP’s alleged wheeling-dealing to woo the support of independent senators for clinching the slot of chairman.

These sources said that PPP would go to any extent to secure their due right of having their man in the slot of chairman as they would surely be coming out single largest party in the Senate elections and with the support it its allies in the Upper House, they would easily clinch both the top positions.