LAHORE - Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo has resigned as PPP’s central Punjab President, The Nation has learnt.

The resignation comes after the not-so-good performance of the PPP in the first phase of Local Bodies elections held in 12 Punjab districts.

Sources privy to the development said that Wattoo has sent his resignation to the party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari accepting responsibility for party’s defeat in most of the districts. They further said that his resignation has not been accepted by the party Chairman as yet and he has been asked to continue in his present position till completion of third phase of Local Bodies elections.

His supporters, however, think that he should have waited for the outcome of election results in rest of the central Punjab districts where the election is yet to be held in the second and third phases.

In the second phase, Local Bodies elections are scheduled to be held on November 19 (tomorrow) in 11 districts of central Punjab which include: Sahiwal, Toba Tek Singh, Chiniot, Sargodha, Mianwali, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Hafizabad, Mandi Bahauddin, Attock and Jhelum. All these districts fall under his political domain.

Besides, out of 12 Punjab districts where election was held on October 31 in the first phase, three districts-Vehari, Lodhran and Bahawalnagar- don’t fall under the domain of Wattoo and he cannot be held responsible for party’s good or bad performance there, they stated.

Makhdum Ahmed Mehmud is heading party’s southern Punjab chapter.

In Okara, the home district of Manzoor Wattoo, the PPP won all seats of Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen in 15 Union Councils out of total 25 falling in Manzoor Wattoo’s National Assembly constituency.

It also won 103 seats of general Councillors. In the adjoining district of Kasur, the PPP won 6 seats of Chairman and Vice Chairman while 10 independents supported by it also got elected in different Union Councils on these slots.

In Gujrat district, the PPP bagged 13 seats of Chairman and Vice-Chairman besides over two dozen seats of general Councillors.

Manzoor Wattoo joined the PPP just before 2013 elections.

Since then, he has been a subject of criticism by old party guards who resented his entry into the PPP terming him an alien to the party. A strong group within the PPP remained active against him throughout the period.

Wattoo, who enjoys the reputation of being an expert in wheeling and dealing in political matters, got himself elected as Punjab Chief Minister twice despite being head of a minority party. At one time, he managed to become Chief Minister with only 18 provincial seats in hand.

He remained member of National Assembly for four five times and that of Punjab Assembly for five times. He also enjoys the distinction of being elected Speaker of Punjab Assembly for three consecutive terms.