ISLAMABAD - The peaceful conduct of Senate elections on Saturday has cleared the way for holding of next general elections in July this year.

At the same time, it has also removed a lot of apprehensions shrouding the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) that major fissures in its ranks would get exposed in these elections.

But all such apprehensions and predictions proved false, and despite his disqualification as the prime minister and later his ouster from the party’s office of president by the Supreme Court verdict, Nawaz Sharif has successfully kept the party united and managed to win slightly more seats in the Senate than their stipulated strength in the assemblies due to better management and cooperation with allies.

Political analysts said that Nawaz Sharif’s aggressive stance taken against his ouster from power and portraying himself as victim had worked well with his electorate in the Punjab and it was due to this approval and acceptance of his narrative that those thinking of leaving the party after his disqualification as prime minister were compelled to revisit their decision.

Ahead of Senate elections, it was generally believed that a good number of party parliamentarians would defect from the ruling PML-N, and it would serve as a big blow to the party both in terms of loss in Senate elections as well as electable candidates in the upcoming general elections.

Such apprehensions got credence following the political debacle the PML-N led government in Balochistan had faced, and not only the party’s chief minister had to resign in an unceremonious way but the total strength of the PML-N parliamentary party in the province also slipped out of their hands.

But all such apprehensions fell flat when the party emerged strong and intact in these elections and had managed to win their requisite seats as per their strength in the Punjab, the federal capital and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies.

The party had even managed additional seat from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with better management and engagement with smaller parties in the electoral college.

Now, the PML-N has emerged as the single largest party with 33 senators under its umbrella, and is well poised to clinch the priced slot of chairman Senate, which would further strengthen the party and minimise the chances of mass-scale defection of the MPs to other parties ahead of the next general elections due in July this month.

Political analysts said that in keeping the party intact the major role was of Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif who both came in defiance against the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif on what they dubbed on flimsy grounds of holding Iqama (residence certificate) and not taking salary from his son.

In the whirlwind addresses to the rallies across the plains of the Punjab and Hazara Division both Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz introduced the narrative of restoring the sanctity of vote and establishment of the Nizam-i-Adal (true justice system) and both these things went well with their voters and to a great extend they (Nawaz and Maryam) have managed to portray themselves as victim and make the voters believe that Nawaz Sharif was subjected to victimisation.

It was all due to the acceptance of their narrative and development of favourable sentiments for Nawaz Sharif, which made all those party leaders planning to switch to other parties, to revisit their plan and they decided to stay back as they stand better chance of returning to assemblies on the PML-N tickets rather than some other political party.