The PML (Q), down but not entirely out as yet, made its presence felt the other day. It staged a raucous protest mainly against PML (N) for violating its mandate in the Punjab just before President Zardari was to make an address before the joint sitting of Parliament. It was an obvious reference to the PML (Q) forward bloc upon which the PML (N) hopes to raise the edifice of its new government minus PPP. Later, President Zardari with an eye towards the Sharifs too lent to some strength to the Chaudhrys claim when he while lifting the Governor's rule in province, assured his party's support no matter who is their chief minister. 'This will end the horse trading and politics of forward bloc' Zardari suggested in a quite emotional way towards the end of speech. With already two parties are face to face, the hopes of any reconciliation between them, let alone a merger or unification turned out to be quite short-lived. Leaders of both parties without any restraint are once again taking potshots against each other not sparing even the senior leadership. The PML(Q) leadership even made it clear that there was no room for any reconciliation between the two sides or meeting unless the PML(N) returns its MPAs, that have revolted against the party and formed a forward bloc, supporting the PML(N) in its future endeavours. The Sharifs on their part too seemed little interested in improving ties with the leaders of other League. They are not even ready to see them nor does any effort to nudge the leaders of the two parties towards negotiation. There were reports earlier on of meeting between the Chaudhrys and Sharifs but it never took place. The cold shoulder given by the Sharif to Chaudhrys is even disturbing for those circles in the party pleading for merger or greater reconciliation with PML (N). Probably, the PML (N) top leadership never found it in their political interest to mend fences with the PML (Q). We learnt that more than anybody else, Nawaz Sharif himself harbours strong reservations over any rapprochement with PML (Q). As such instead of playing ball with the PML (Q), the PML (N) leadership preferred to enter a new equation with PPP both in centre and Punjab negotiated this time by Prime Minister. Before that we had credible reports that PPP and PML (Q) have reached an understanding to join hands both in the Punjab and Centre. The talks between the two sides were going on for sometime with Governor Taseer spearheading them with Pervaiz Elahi and Monis Elahi figuring from other side. We learnt that both sides met on a number of occasions to sort out their differences and finalised a power-sharing formula. The Chaudhrys even met Prime Minister and President as per media reports. The people are interested to know what stopped the two sides from striking a deal and why the Chaudhrys failed to win back party dissidents despite master of wheeling and dealing. One viewpoint in the party is this that while Pervaiz Elahi was more inclined towards the PPP; Ch. Shujaat Hussain was not all that forthcoming. One reason for his unwillingness to let his party join hands with PPP was the opposition from within the party. He was looking for a way-out acceptable to all. Many PML (Q) leaders, led by Mushahid Hussain were more in favour of reconciliation with PML (N) instead of PPP. There is an impression in the party leaders that Shujaat is more under the influence of Mushahid Hussain who pleaded all along a greater reconciliation that included all parties. Shujaat's idea of tripartite government in the Punjab as the only way out was also in line with such influences. Again, Shujaat has an old grudge against the Bhuttos. Some in the party consider the old rivalry between the Bhuttos and Chaudhry as main reason for the indecisiveness among the Chaudhrys. It is probably this indecisiveness which stopped the Chaudhrys to make whole-hearted efforts to win back the members of forward bloc. Then sensing their indispensability, the Chaudhrys pressed the PPP for a lion's share in any deal on Punjab, hoping they would bring back the rebels in the party fold thereafter. In their final talks, the PPP kept asking the Chaudhrys to show their strength before any power-sharing arrangement could be finalized. But the Chaudhrys were more interested to clinch a favourable deal with Chief Minister coming from PML (Q) before launching any serious effort to woo back the members of the forward bloc. This underlines an element of mistrust between the two sides. It is this mistrust and indecisiveness among the Chaudhrys that perhaps stopped them from making an extra effort to win back these rebels for which they are now protesting.