LAHORE - The PML-N has kicked off preparations for the local government elections in Punjab as per scheduled date of September 20. Delimitation of constituencies, as some media report suggest, are yet not been finalised within the due time as such delay of a few days in holding of the election cannot be ruled out.

The PML-N has set up a committee at the head of Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah which is meeting on daily basis. The committee took into the consideration selection of the party candidates and passed decisions in this regard.

Talking to this scribe, Punjab government spokesman Syed Zaeem Hussain Qadri said that in view of the Supreme Court directions of the LG polls on September 20, the PML-N embarked upon the process of picking up suitable candidates for the polls. He said for the purpose of overall look after about the LG affairs, Punjab districts have been entrusted to legislators and he himself has been assigned Gujranwala for this purpose.

Qadri said that six-member committee comprising one MNA and two MPAs of the concerned constituencies, a district president and other office bearers, will entertain the applications for aspirant candidates and would pick up the best of the lot.

He said that PML-N Central Leader Hamza Shahbaz Sharif is overall incharge of the LG polls and in final selection of party candidates, opinion of the district president of the party would be given due weight.

On the proposal for holding the LG polls in phases, the spokesman said this measure for the sake of making the election peaceful and result acceptable to all. He said in the phased wise election, election at district, union and another tiers can be held with the interval of one to two weeks and the election process will be completed within a month or so.

Qadri said no final decision has been taken on it so far and the party is getting ready for election strictly keeping in mind election on September 20. This date has been fixed by the Supreme Court and the government will abide by it.

As to the Punjab government request for curtailing the number of ballot papers for the LG as stamping (seven) ballot papers at a time will be tedious job, he said, a decision in this regard is the prerogative of the Election Commission and Punjab government only wants to the process to be peaceful and easy.

Sources inside the PML-N say given the government focus on the national matters of greater importance, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif will play a little role in LG polls and come into the picture at the final stage. As to the party legislators interested in contesting election for the district chairmanship at the local level, sources say, no policy at the party level has been framed as yet, and the chances are there that legislators will not be allowed to contest grass root elections.

They further say that the party ticket will be given to the suitable candidate and if more than one vied for the party ticket on the basis of affiliation and service to the party, that constituency will be left open for all candidates and the winner will be adopted by the party subsequent to the polls.

The committee set up for the elections has also decided to dole out development to the party legislators of NA and PA who would perform the development works in the respective constituency in consultation with the district president and the candidate for the chairmanship and vice chairmanship.