LAHORE - The PPP, which ruled the country for four times, is now passing through its turbulent times with party men predicting it would take at least 10 years to galvanise the party in the absence lower party cadres which are almost non-existent at the moment especially in Punjab.

Background interviews with old PPP guards who have been sidelined since the assassination of party’s charismatic leader Benazir Bhutto, have revealed that lower party cadres, considered to be the backbone of a party, have become dysfunctional to the extent that they opted to remain dormant during the May 11 elections.

They moaned that party leadership, intoxicated by power, ignored party workers in the last five years letting the party organisations erode without realising the consequences.

“They did not feel the need to activate the party at the union council level even during the electioneering”, said a party worker, adding that no person with political insight could deny the role of lower cadres in a political organisation.

It merits mentioning here that President Zardari who headed the party during these years was of the firm belief until the last general elections that party organisations had no role to play in the victory or defeat of candidates. This, he would say, in his private meetings with different party leaders and politicians from other parties.

But he received the shock of his life after the polls when he came to know that party candidates could not find polling agents at most of the polling stations due to weak party structure at the gross roots level.

“The role of polling agent on the polling day is very important. It is he who facilitates party voters and receives election results from the polling officer. If the final results declared by a returning officer don’t match the results officially handed over to a polling agent, it becomes a strong evidence against rigging”, observed an old PPP worker who has long experience of acting as polling agent during different elections.

Most of the party candidates with whom this scribe talked to were of the view that it was mainly at the polling stations where the PPP candidates had no polling agents that election results were manipulated by the returning officers.

Complaining about non-cooperative attitude of party workers, a PPP candidate from Lahore who contested the last election told The Nation that he had to hire polling agents for most of the polling stations at Rs 1500 a day as no party man was available to perform this duty. The PPP candidates from other districts also had to undergo a similar situation during the polls when party organisations refused to support them.

The PPP has left with no party structure at the gross roots and party men believe it would take at least 10 yeas to resuscitate the party after its humiliating defeat in May 11 elections.

Talking about the factors responsible for weakening of PPP structure, a PPP leader, who requested not to be named, told this correspondent that party men who had been supporting the party through thick and thin had numerous complaints against two former Prime Ministers-Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf- who did not pay heed to their grievances while in power.

The former PPP premiers, he said, did not bother to keep in touch with the party activists in the last five years. The stories of their alleged corruption also tarnished their image among the masses.

Similarly, all federal ministers also remained away from the workers. Another PPP jiyala said that diehard PPP workers were also angry with the leadership for forging a political alliance with the PML-Q and placing them under the command of politicians who had a history of harming the party.

“They are not ready to work under the leadership of Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo and Raja  Riaz in Punjab. Likewise, Salim Saifullah Khan in KPK is an alien to the PPP men, he said.