LAHORE -  The results of the current year’s general election will largely be similar to those of the 2013’s, with only minor changes here and there, provided the entire exercise is free and fair, says Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafiq.

Talking informally to senior journalists and anchorpersons here yesterday, he said people were strongly supporting the PML-N even after the disqualification of Mian Nawaz Sharif as prime minister and this factor was very encouraging for the ruling party.

The PML-N had won the previous election and formed governments at the centre and in Punjab. Sindh went to the PPP and KP to the PTI. The government in Balochistan was shared by the PML-N and the National Party, although a PML-Q man has become the province’s chief executive as a result of a recent no-confidence motion against PML-N’s Sanaullah Zehri.

The current year’s election is due to be held by the middle of July.

Khwaja Saad said people turned up in large numbers in all PML-N’s public meetings in various cities and towns and they were also very responsive, a matter which showed the party’s standing among the masses.

Answering a question about the future prospects of the PTI, the railways minister said if Imran Khan’s party got some space in Punjab it would proportionately lose the same in KP.

It may be recalled that the PTI insists that the PML-N would be defeated in the next election and the future belongs to Imran Khan.

About the situation in Balochistan after the ouster of PML-N’s Sanaullah Zehri, Saad said seven MPAs were still with this party and would remain with it even in the future. He believed that the party would get at least one Senate seat (from Balochistan) when election to 50 per cent vacant seats of the upper house is held in March.

In his opinion there was no possibility of Balochistan-like situation in G-B and AJK assemblies.

In response to a question about the role of the Grand Democratic Alliance set up in Sindh, the minister said it would stand by the PML-N.

He rubbished reports that the alliance would join hands with the PPP or the PTI.

Asked about the future line of action of the Awami National Party, the railways minister said it would not join hands with the PPP before the election as in that case it might lose votes. However, the party could take any decision after the election – to serve its political interests.

He was all praise for the PML-N leaders like Amir Muqam and NA deputy speaker because of the role being played by them in KP.

About the line of succession in the PML-N, the railways minister said it has been decided that Mian Shehbaz Sharif would be the prime minister in case of the PML-N’s victory in the next election.

The Punjab chief minister was a leader in his own right and he had established his credentials by rendering untiring service to the province, he argued.

According to him, efforts were being made to iron out differences between former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and former information minister Senator Pervaiz Rashid.

He was all praise for Mian Nawaz Sharif’s decision to come out on the roads after being disqualified as prime minister.