After Panama case verdict it is now clear that general elections will be held in September or October 2018 and political parties already started their elections campaign including PML-N the ruling party. But PTI is still crawling behind in terms of their political strategy for elections 2018.
In following lines we will discuss the possible strategy of PTI to ensure maximum national assembly seates from their strongholds of KP and Punjab and the options which PTI can utilize to achieve their objective, to be in power in federal government and see Imran khan as prime Minister of Pakistan.
PTI’s is a strong political force and in terms of popular votes, the second largest political party which polled 7.1 million votes in 2013 elections, though it was half way to PML-N which attracted more than 14 million voters to their side. But this 7.1 million votes given them only 32 seats in national assembly while for clear majority in National Assembly, PTI need to cross the figure 100 seats, then only it can form a government with help of allies and independents.
PTI won 17 out of 35 National assembly seats form KP while its allies also won 6 seats. In coming elections PTI is hoping to demonstrate same or even better performance in terms of seat maturity and try to clinch few more seats keeping in mind, the better performance of PTI’s provincial government, To clinch atleast 24 seats for themselves and atleat 8 for their allies, and to achieve this, PTI need to struggle against following factors;
- Incumbency factor of provincial government.
- Any emerging alliance of religious Parties
- Any Anti PTI alliance
- Resurrection of PPP in province
On the other hand PTI can use following factors in their favour to reach the above mentioned target;
- Effective alliance/ seat adjustment with JI & QWP
- Positive image of PTI
- Damage of PML-N image due to Panama case especially in Hazara
So for election 2018, if PTI need to achieve its target of 24 seats from KP it need to work on following districts / constituencies of KP
Hazara contains 3 districts (Abbotabad, Haripur & Mansehra) constitutes 5 seats in total and currently PTI has only one seat from there, the NA-17 Abbotabad i.
Currently possessed by PML-N through incumbent Dy. Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi, PTI has good candidate here in form of Sardar Yaqoob, only PTI has to get touch with Hazara Tehreek to get along with them to give tough time to PML-N.
Though PTI had a setback from here when it lost by-elections from here in 2015 but PTI has solid vote bank and with new active face of PTI and with help of JI & their allies they can also aim at this seat.
this is the constituency which might be most difficult for PTI to conquer, current federal minister for religious affairs Sardar Mohammad Yousuf is incumbent MNA from here and he earned very good repute especially organization of Hajj operations. In 2013, Azam swati from PTI contested from here but lost with huge margin. PTI must look for right candidate form here.
Though Nawaz Sharif’s son in law won this seat with huge margin but he would be shaky now due to Panama, and PTI has to go in contest with rigorous campaign to give a good contest to PML-N from here.
D.I.Khan, Lakki Marwat and Bannu constitutes 4 national assembly seats, in 2013 PTI lost all 4 to JUI-F but recovered in by-elections and won NA-25 D.I.Khan ii and NA-27 Lakki Marwat. In NA-24 and NA-26, PTI’s challenge is face JUI-F’s top leadership, Moulana Fazl ur Rehman and Akram Khan Durrani.
Apart from JUI-F, PTI must get into the way of revival of PPP which not can damage PTI vote bank against JUI-F in southern KP but also it can pose difficulties in Peshawar valley.
Districts Peshawar, Nosherhra, Sawabi, Mardan & Charsadda, constitutes 13 seats in total, and PTI already had 10 seats either with them with their allies, to be exact PTI has 8 while allies has 2 seats. Remaining 3 seats are with ANP & JUI-F. Peshawar Valley supposed to be strong point of PTI as provision govt. is spending most of its budget in these areas. In coming Peshawar Metro Bus also belong to mostly these areas. So for election 2018 grasping remaining 3 constituencies NA-1, NA-7 & NA-9 should be comparatively easy task then other areas.
Shangla & Btagram
Both districts have only has one seat each NA-31 & NA-22 respectively. NA-31 is home seat of PML-N’s Amir Muqam. In 2013 elections PTI was unable to launch good candidates in both of these constituencies and their candidates remained at number 5. Now PTI got time to work on these constituencies and understand and launch a good candidate with help of their allies and pose challenge to Amir Muqam in NA-31 and to JUI-F in NA-22.
Chirtal also has only one constituency NA-32. This constituency supposed to be most easy pick for PTI as in 2013 elections PTI candidate was runner up with put up a close fight to Prevaiz Musharraf’s APML candidate.
to be continued….