LAHORE - Chaudhry Parvez Elahi left the PML-N in serious worry as he got 12 of its members to his side to secure 201 votes in the election for Punjab Assembly speaker’s office.
Although the PML-N succeeded on the day of election for speaker’s office in retrieving support of its members, their betrayal has sowed seeds of suspicion, which may haunt the party at every delicate moment in the times to come.
Sources in the PML-N say the party leadership has taken cognizance of betrayal by its members and some people in the party have been assigned the duty to find them out. Sources say that party patron Nawaz Sharif has told the party leadership to keep the party intact. They say the party leadership is evolving a mechanism to keep an eye on its members. Close friends of Chaudhrys of Gujrat, their relatives, and those vulnerable to offers will be under strict scrutiny, they said.
Sources say that party members will be taken into confidence at a party meeting in the next couple of days to keep the party intact.
It may be mentioned here that days after July 25 elections, media reports had pointed to creation of a forward bloc in the PML-N in Punjab. A forward bloc of more than 40 lawmakers was carved out of the PML-Q after the 2008 general elections to support the Shehbaz Sharif government against PPP’s threat of a no-trust move. Reports about emergence of a forward bloc in the PML-N were confirmed after the PTI announced name of PML-Q Punjab President Parvez Elahi for Punjab Assembly speaker’s office.
Elahi has a deep understanding of the Punjab politics and political roots. He had been in the front line of the PML-N from 1985 to 1999 and served as speaker of the party’s government.
On Wednesday, Elahi stunned the PML-N by winning support of its 12 members. The PML-N however promptly acted to control the damage and mounted a strong protest in the Punjab Assembly. The party was not willing to join the election for deputy speaker’s office and took part in the elections only after getting assurances from the other side that no forward bloc would be created in the PML-N. Before going to the House, PML-N leaders Hamza Shehbaz and Khawaja Saad Rafique had got commitment from the party members that they would vote for the party candidate in deputy speaker’s election. The PTI candidate for deputy speaker’s office obtained 14 votes less than Elahi, who won the election for speaker’s office.
Talking to the media, Elahi said the PML-N reaped today what it had sown in 2008. A fear however is still lurking in the back of PML-N’s mind and it is taking measures to plug the holes, which can provide for rivals to make inroads into the party ranks.