Despite statements from Bilawal Bhutto rejecting the election results, it seems the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is set to make the government in Sindh, with a majority of 74 seats.
Yes, PPP has fared relatively well in these elections, despite predictions that the party was fading. Not only did PPP manage to hold on to Sindh without help of allies, it also clinched seats in Southern Punjab. This resurgence of PPP support could be credited to a change in campaigning-for the last two weeks, the face of the campaign had been Bilawal Bhutto, who adopted a progressive, almost leftist approach, which could be said to have revived national interest in PPP.
Yet PPP should not be so quick to celebrate. Where the party has won, it has probably lost more. In the biggest upset for the party, Bilawal lost the Lyari-based NA-246 seat. PPP also lost major seats in Larkana, Jacobabad and Badin.
Despite Bilawal’s claims of rigging, there are some hard facts PPP must accept. The party performance in Sindh for the last decade was weak at best. PPP left behind, and now inherits, a health care system in array, and the worst water crisis the province has seen. PPP’s inefficiency during the crisis, and its fuelling of ethnic hatred and gang wars has not fared well with even the most historically ardent supporters of Bhutto, as witnessed in Lyari, where protesters threw rocks in anger of the water shortage crisis.
If anything, Bilawal’s last-minute revival of leftist campaigning was the fleeting glimpse of what the PPP should’ve been doing all along in its governance. It was this promise of change that Bilawal could bring, not PPP’s incompetent performance, that has lead to its win. For its next five years, PPP must work on those promises, and present that new face to the party, or else it might see itself ousted by 2023.