Anyone hoping that the political temperature would go down after the long march of Tahirul Qadri ended with an agreement between him and the government, would be disappointed. Dr Qadri has accused the PML-N of trying to make the PPP central government attack the long march on the night of January 16. PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif shot back at Mr Qadri, whom he initially patronized, when he said that dramas would continue if votes were not used wisely. While the PPP maintained an amused silence, it must be noted that Mian Nawaz said this while addressing a rally organised by the Sindh United Party at Hala Bypass, Matiari district, accounted a PPP stronghold. It is a sign of the approach of elections that Mian Nawaz is confidently addressing relatively small rallies, in places the PPP wants to think of as its own territory, constituencies it retained even when it lost power in Sindh in 1990 and 1996. Meanwhile, Dr Qadri  announced that he would not be taking part in the elections due this year, presumably because he is reluctant to surrender his Canadian citizenship and also because of his admitted revulsion to the idea of participating in politics in Pakistan, or perhaps due to the fear that those he has been vilifying for the last few weeks might bury him under an avalanche of votes if he were to compete against them. Apart from the general election, his 15 minutes of fame may well come to an end after constitutional talks with the government, which are to be held on Monday (today). None of the parties seem to be focusing on the rampant inflation, deteriorating law and order situation, declining economy and energy shortages that allowed disillusioned voters to be seduced by Mr Qadri.It is these issues that make it of such overpowering importance that the coming elections are free, fair and transparent. That is the spirit that should inform all activities, including candidate selection, until polling day, and the parties must also ensure that the candidates they select obey the code of conduct scrupulously, keeping in mind that the code was laid down by a consensual commission.