ISLAMABAD - Main political parties in the Senate elections are busy devising strategies to keep their legislators, in the electoral-college, intact and not to let them breach the party discipline owing to some differences with the party policies or selling out their votes for lucrative offers of millions of rupees by some independent candidates.

Sources aware of the developments taking place on this front informed that the leadership of major political parties like Pakistan People’s Party, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf was worried about the growing discontent among their legislators on the distribution of party tickets for limited Senate seats, particularly Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, which were notorious for horse-trading in the Senate elections if party history is any guide.

Political analysts saw Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), entering into its maiden Senate elections from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the most vulnerable to a major breach with a forward bloc comprising over a dozen MPs already formed within the party placing certain demands to the party chairman Imran Khan for staying within the party discipline.

It was in this backdrop that majority of the PTI leadership wanted overt instead of secret ballot in the Senate elections to avoid major setback to the party candidates in the Senate elections. Sources in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) informed that though the party was not having good working relations with PTI, but even then it(PML-N) had given positive nod to PTI to control this dirty game of horse-trading in Senate elections for the collective good of the system.

These sources said that all the major political parties in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly could bring consensus candidates on the elections against 12 Senate seats – seven general, two each reserved for women and technocrats and one for minorities. But even then the independent candidates could make a dent by purchasing votes of disenchanted MPs of some parties by offering them with huge and irresistible sum of money.

A senior party leader in ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) informed The Nation that they had no problem in handling the situation in Punjab where the party would be clinching all the 11 seats for which a well-thought-out strategy had been evolved.

Similarly the results on two federal capital seats would also be obvious with ruling PML-N facing no trouble in having a smooth sailing.

Giving details of the party’s plan for Senate elections in Punjab Assembly, he informed that the party had divided its members into seven groups and each group would be assigned a candidate on general seat and they would only cast vote to their assigned candidate and not use second or third option for any other candidate. Similarly, the party legislators would be divided for women and technocrats seats and the groups would vote for the candidate assigned to them. In this way the party would be keeping check on its legislators as well, he added.

Sources further said that the party leadership was contemplating on the option of asking the party legislators to capture the photo of the ballot paper with his mobile camera after casting vote to the party candidate assigned to him and then mail the same to the party leadership.

On the other hand Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in collaboration with Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has decided to bring consensus candidate from Sindh for which according to reports both parties had reached an agreement. Out of 11 seats seven would go to PPP while rest of the five would be given to MQM.

But presence of a sizeable number of candidates from smaller parties like Pakistan Muslim League (Functional) and independents the chances of breach, mainly in PPP could not be ruled out especially when the discontent within the party MPAs was at its peak.

The real test of the main stakeholders in Senate elections would be in Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa and Balochistan where the chances of breach in the ranks of main parties could not be ruled out.

Particularly in Balochistan, all the parties in ruling coalition - PML-N, PkMAP and NP - have yet to decide their share in the Senate elections. All the three parties are engaged in negotiations to have an extra seat with PML-N provincial chief Sardar Sanaullah Zehri not at all ready to dole out an additional seat to PkMAP or NP.

Sources aware of the developments taking place on this front told The Nation that the provincial leaders of the ruling PML-N were not ready to forego their actual share in the Senate elections from the province as, according to some insiders in the PML-N Balochsitan chapter, the party had already sacrificed a lot.

Last week, prime minister held meeting with party MPAs from the province where it was agreed that the matter of distribution of seats among the coalition partners would be decided by a committee of the party, which would be holding meetings with PkMAP and NP leaders in the next couple of days.