LAHORE - The mainstream political parties may not be able to lure a good many potential candidates from Punjab’s rural areas; as a chunk of these is most likely to contest the coming polls in their individual capacity this time around.

Though a good number of candidates opt to run as independent candidate in almost every election, the coming elections are going to witness an upward trend given the changing political scenario in which candidates seem disillusioned with the political parties.

The 2008 general elections saw some 40 candidates returned to Punjab Assembly on general seats out of total 297 reserved for direct elections. Barring four, the rest joined the PML-N at the time of government formation. Around a dozen independents also returned to the National Assembly from Punjab.

But the trend is likely to get impetus in the coming elections given the new political scenario.

Reports coming from rural constituencies of Punjab suggest that politicians belonging to major political families are thinking of contesting the coming polls as independent candidates. It is because of the reason that they have become disenchanted with the political parties which have eroded their respective vote banks over the years, especially in the rural constituencies. 

The current race among parties for enlisting the support of electables is reflective of the fact that they themselves don’t believe in the power of their vote bank. The realisation that only strong candidates can win seats is, infact, an undeclared confession on their part that they don’t trust the voters any more.

This is a situation where the candidates are not sure which of the parties would finally emerge victorious after the polls, and hence they are reluctant to join any of them.   

“Those who are sure of their victory in the coming polls on the basis of their personal vote bank would not like to align themselves with any of the parties until the final results to keep the option of joining the single largest party at the final stage”, a political heavy weight from South Punjab commented over the new situation. 

There are also reports that political families from the Southern region are planning to form an electoral alliance against the political parties on whose platform they had been contesting elections in the past.

It has been learnt that Hiraj family of Khanewal, Legharis, Khosas, Mazari and Qaisranis of DG Khan division, Noons of Lodhran and the Niwanis and Rokaris of Bhakkar are considering the option of going to the elections without using any party’s platform.

Almost all major parties are reportedly having problems in winning over potential candidates who are reluctant to make commitment with any of the parties at this stage. The PPP sources confided to TheNation that Mian Manzor Ahmad Wattoo tasked to hunt on strong candidates has not been able so for to allure any despite lucrative offers.

Same is the case in respect of other parties, though a few disgruntled politicians with little followings in their areas are joining them.