THE coalition government in Punjab is treading on a shaky ground, thanks to a new round of confrontation between the PPP and the PML-N. The causes can be traced back to a verbal duel going on for a long time between Governor Salman Taseer and Mian Shahbaz Sharif and also to our political culture of intolerance where parties are busy discrediting their opponents. The climate is so vitiated that the calls by Prime Minister Gilani for reconciliation do not seem to have much impact on the hawks in both the camps, who continue to spew venom against each other. Governor Taseers notice of the PML-Ns Law Minister Rana Sanaullahs meeting with the leader of a banned outfit has greatly inflamed passions, with the PML-N alleging that they are the targets of a vilification campaign. Likewise, Mr Taseers statement on a private TV channel that the CM is moving around the provincial capital terrorising Lahorites with a gun-totting police force will also widen the prevailing gulf. Not just that. The rank and file on either side have also upped the ante by asking their party leaders in top echelons to break ranks. According to reports, PPP jiyalas have been raising a hue and cry on the ground that the partys Ministers who are part of the provincial coalition set-up have no powers owing to which development work has been suffering. At the same time, lower carders within the PML-N have been urging the party that it should give marching orders to the PPP Ministers. The PPP and the PML-N are two parties in power that are supposed to live up to the peoples expectations. The hostility and the negative politics, in play for nearly two years now, have invariably sapped the energy that could have been directed towards eliminating the prevailing misery and poverty of the people. It is hoped that wiser counsels will prevail and the hawks clamouring for adventurism are effectively reined in.