LAHORE  -   The by-election victory has come as a big morale booster to the PML-N, providing it the confidence to play on the front-foot in the national politics.

After capturing 11 of the total 35 seats in the by-polls, the opposition party is more than satisfied, especially as it has snatched some seats that were won by the ruling party in the general elections.

In light of the new tally of seats the party leadership is now predicting a more robust role for the PML-N in the future national politics.

Workers are viewing party’s performance in by-elections as the vindication of their Quaid Nawaz Sharif’s narrative and they are expecting a sooner return to power.

At the level of the legislators, the victory is working to consolidate their ranks. It has shattered the rumours of cracks in the party and mitigated the impression of differences between the Sharif brothers.

It is being believed that the win would go a long way to dash down hopes of the rivals about the creation of any forward bloc in the PML-N in the foreseeable future.

It was learnt from the party sources that although the by-polls victory was not sufficient to bring about any in-house change at the centre or in Punjab but it has enabled the party to play a more vibrant role as opposition at both the plains.

What the PML-N MPAs showed in the Punjab Assembly on Tuesday when the provincial budget was presented, may be adumbrative of the sort of politics it is going to do in future against the background of custody of their leader Shehbaz Sharif and questionable decisions and policies of the PTI government on which the PML-N has lot of material to speak.

The aggression and protest of the PML-N demonstrated in the Punjab Assembly during the budget speech may be called unprecedented in the provincial parliamentary history. The height of rumpus and unruliness created in the Punjab Assembly obliged the speaker to ban entry of the six members of the opposition to the house during the budget session.

In observers view the PML-N, which does not have the DNA of street protest, will largely bank on the parliament to vent fury and play on the front line. They say what the opposition did looks more than needed as adherence to this practice on every occasion, may bounce back on it in the long run besides impressing upon the masses as if the PML-N did not want to let the system run which indeed will negate the democratic spirit on its part.

The party leaders who level very serious accusations of rigging in the election, have more than once said that they have joined the Parliament to save the system. While leader of the opposition in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz Sharif told the media at the PA premises that they want to enjoy the opposition and are in haste to get to the power. As such, the PML-N Punjab will need to decide the course which saves the system and enable them enjoy the role of opposition at the same time.

At the national level, the party got the valuable addition of two main leaders – former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former Railways Minster Khwaja Saad Rafiq – to its strength in the National Assembly.

Abbasi is a very close friend and confidante of Party Quaid Nawaz Sharif. In the absence of Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif because of his NAB custody or any other reason, he may be the best choice to control and represent the party in the parliament and outside.

Khwaja Saad is also facing NAB cases involving serious allegations and he, along with his younger brother, apprehends arrest by the accountability bureau.

However, as MNA Saad is quite suitable for advancing opposition’s cause. He knows how to play hot and cold, as per the situation demand. Also, he has a large circle of friends almost in every parliamentary party.

Undoubtedly, the by-polls win has paid the PML-N off in a big way but how exactly the party uses it for its own advantage and for the good of the people is yet to be seen.