While going through the newspapers, it is very rare that I come across an article appreciating the government’s efforts. Whether it is the increase in the education budget or improvement in the health sector, the government is invariably subjected to a barrage of criticism and bashed for over reliance on the development work. These days, the ruling party is having the toughest of times as it continues to be picked upon due to the Panama Papers case.

The objective of jotting down the words is to make readers realize that the ruling party might be penalized for their doings in the past, but recent survey conducted by an independent body IDEAS ‘Political Attitude in Lahore’ has definitely stirred the air and created a buzz. Even though I am not a keen political follower, yet there are some parts of the survey that have instigated a sense of agreement in the perspective of a common person like me. It seems like the eyes of the vote bank have seen credibility in the PML-N over the rest of the parties out there.

It’s not a good time for PTI since they have played their best role of just being a critic. I have witnessed the Metro Bus credibility of PML-N being criticized first and then copied later in Peshawar. Well, this imitation of PTI has been massively rubbed in the face as Khan considered himself a lone wolf.

I am sure this survey will be a storm in the teacup for PTI followers and one thing that sets them apart from PML-N followers is that their heads are in the clouds. There are certain reasons which made me believe in the authenticity of the survey.

The survey was conducted in three National Assembly constituencies of Lahore namely NA-121, NA-122 and NA-124. According to the survey report, 60% voters of the constituencies believed that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is capable of putting Pakistan on the path of development.

Let’s overview their previous government records.

PML-N is always ahead of the game when it comes to the development projects like M2, dams, power houses etc.  With recent mega projects initiative like CPEC, one can foresee the influx of job opportunities and investment flow. Their economic and infrastructure focus has always been palpable. The metro bus system is a mega project, it has attracted a lot of criticism but PTI turned blue in the face and imitated the same project in Peshawar. 

Meanwhile, 26% of the voters were of the view that PTI Chief Imran Khan had the capability of putting the country on the path of development. I always looked up to Imran Khan as people’s leader who is a third fresh option between the preponderant political giants, but somehow his constant strategy of mudslinging has destroyed his own standing. Since we as a nation have fish-like memory, we have forgotten the fact that the politics of two decades hasn't matured Imran as a leader and he is still stuck in match fixing politics. He has a massive youth vote bank but still hasn't made his mark on the masses.

49 percent voters were of the view that Shehbaz Sharif was an honest leader. Well, I certainly cannot disagree with this fact. Shehbaz is known as Punjab Speed and there are a number of development projects which have been announced and initiated in the last few months – PML-N will definitely take advantage of this as it will showcase them as the winning brand. His focus is majorly on health and education during the last year of his term in office. There is a massive shift in terms of paradigm of increasing education budget by Punjab government for the year 2016-17. A lion’s chunk of Rs 168.9 billion has been allocated to social sector development programme in which education has been allotted Rs 73.3 billion.

According to the survey, with 60% voters describing the PML-N as the most popular political party in the country, 45% expressed their determination to vote for PML-N in the next general elections. The survey has been conducted in three constituencies, which might not let the opposition think of it as a version of the entire nation.

Only Election 2018 will unveil the truth. However, parties are well advised to heed the message of the survey and align political campaigns around the issues of development. As the findings of the survey show there is a massive shift of politics from patronage and rent-seeking to delivery of services. This augurs well for strengthening of the system.