BY: |Waqas Jawaid Arain|
The loss of the NA 154 seat in the Lodhran by elections came as a shock to the PTI as the party expecting an easy sway in the constituency long held by Jahangir Tareen. NA-154 defeat is an upset defeat for PTI as in 2015 By-Poll Jahangir Tareen had regained this constituency by defeating Siddique Baloch. There are three to four reasons why PTI succumbed to lost. Basically it was not the contest between PML N and PTI it was the contest between Jahangir Tareen and Local electables (Abdul Rehman Kanju, Pir Iqbal Shah, Siddique Baloch and Rafiq Ahmed group).
NA 154 Lodhran city is comprised of different rural areas, which includes Mehrabad, Makhdoom ali, Jallah Arain and other rural areas. The NA-154 and NA 155 constituencies (Dunyapur, Kahror Pacca) basically consist of rural areas where usually political personalities are more influential instead of Party votes and representation of parties. Electables basically decides the future of constituencies.
Kanju Family is so much effective in Lodhran as Abdul Rehman Kanju is sitting federal minister and his cousin is the city Nazim of the city. In 2013 general elections, the Kanju family had contested the election independently and had won all seats from Lodhran city. After that Siddique Baloch from NA-154 and Abdul Rehman kanju from NA-155 had joined PMLN.
In 2015 Jahangir Tareen challenged these influential political personalities and had won the election by huge margin. However Taeeen had nominated candidates for Local Bodies elections unfortunately he failed to impress but remained successful in forming strong political group in Lodhran.
With this win, Abdul Rehman Kanju, Sidique balcoh and other were feeling dejected cocrens were prevalent that if Jahangir Tareen remains undefeated from this constituency, then Tareen might will become the most influential personality of the city. For this all electables had jelled together in this By-election, just to eradicate the strong holding of Tareen from this constituency and their plan apparently remained successful as Pir Iqbal and- co had snatched the strong hold seat of NA 154 from Tareen and PTI.
The second reason behind this victory was difference of candidate. Pir Muhammad Shah is a decent person, popular and non-controversial personality simply the horse which is not easily defeated The Grandfather of Iqbal Shah was thought to be a very nice human being and most generous person of the constituency. He had served in the field of education and health. The father of Iqbal Shah was known to be a person like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan as he (Iqbals’ Father) contributed a lot in field of different social welfare segments.
He constructed the first School in the area by selling his own land and built that school with his own expense and made that higher secondary school by allotting more lands to it.It was learnt that he usually brought most qualified teachers for his govt school from different areas by convincing them, anyhow and in a few time he made that school the most exemplary school of the city.
Iqbal Shah had the advantage of his family as he is a respected personality between the locals and his personal vote bank is around 50,000 to 60,000. His Son Aamir Iqbal Shah is MPA from Lodhran.
Second reason was age difference, experience of the candidates. As Iqbal Shah was well known candidate on the other hand Ali Tareen was inexperienced and never aspired to contest the by election, according to my sources. It is true that somehow Ali Tareen was engaged with locals in his constituency but his opponent was more prominent group.
The Third and basic reason according to me was overconfidence between party workers which has laid them down. As per the local sources, workers and party leadership were confident of winning from this constituency due to which they didn’t run door to door election campaign and focused more on holding rallies and jalsas. Meanwhile, on the other hand N-league was seemed to be focused on door to door campaign rather than holding big rallies. As we didn’t witness any senior party leadership had come for election campaign.
PML-N made different teams and worked intensely, whereas PTI focused on holding big rallies rather than working on grass root level. They spend so much money as they were thinking money as a solution but failed badly in final experiment.
PML-N is now adamant that the victory is a result of their narrative ‘Mujhe Q Nikala’. As people are thinking that hereditary politics and Tareen’s stay from court against Sugar cane farmers was the main reason behind defeat. No, it does not seem to be true as farmers are not that large which can influence voting patterns. If we talk about dynastic politics then perhaps all candidates which had won in previous eletions was due to heredity politics as Abdul Rehman Khan Kanju is the son of former federal minister Siddique Kanju.
Time for the PTI to put on its thinking cap and make sure its candidates try something out-of-the-box in Punjab.