LAHORE - The Pakistan Peoples Party in its meeting on Tuesday identified six Punjab districts where it needs potential candidates to secure victory in the upcoming elections.

After assuming charge as party’s Central Punjab President, Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo chaired first meeting of PPP’s Punjab Executive Committee here at the Governor’s House with the sole agenda of identifying the constituencies where the PPP did not have strong candidates for the upcoming elections.  

The meeting pinpointed the districts of Bhakkar, Khushab, Mianwali, Jhelum, Chakwal and T.T Singh where the party candidates showed dismal performance in 2008 elections.

When the election results in these districts were considered it transpired that PPP could not win even a single seat from these areas mainly because of its inability to find electables at that time. 

Interestingly, these districts are peculiar in the sense that voters here don’t support political parties. They vote only for powerful individuals regardless of their political affiliation. Rokharis, Niwanis, Awans, Tiwanas, Balochs the family of Nawab of Kalabagh, Chaudhrys, Rajputs and Tummans hold sway in these districts.

The voting pattern in the previous electoral contests here shows that people would vote for these political families even if they run as independent candidates. It merits mentioning here that six National Assembly seats falling in the districts of Khushab, Mianwali and Bhakkar went to independents in the last elections. “These seats would be up for grab in the coming polls for all political parties and this is the reason that PPP has decided to enlist the support of influential politicians from these districts”, said a PPP source who attended the meeting. The PPP, he added, would make alliances with other parties in districts where it could not find electables.

It was also decided in the meeting that Manzoor Wattoo would take meetings with party’s divisional Presidents from Wednesday (today) to seek their input about the availability of potential candidates. He is scheduled to have his first meeting with party’s Lahore organisation on Wednesday (today).

On the issue of estranged party workers, Wattoo reportedly asked the party office-bearers to compile a list of angry workers and he would go to their homes to woo them back. In this context, he told the meeting that his daughter would sit in PPP’s Central Secretariat at in Faisal Town every Monday to meet party workers and resolve their problems. Wattoo further told party men that his daughter was already undertaking a lot of social work and now she would be doing the same while sitting in the party office. 

The meeting was attended by Samina Khalid Ghurki, Tanvir Ashraf Kaira, Raja Riaz, Ch Manzoor, Altaf Qureshi,  Usman Saleem Malik, Ehsan Ganjial and others.

Most of the participants opined that federal government must arrange development funds and jobs quota for its candidates to win the coming elections. Some also expressed concern over allocation of development funds to PML-Q candidates and Chaudhry cousins moves to entice PPP candidates in certain constituencies. As per sources, Wattoo told them that he had already taken up this issue with the Chaudhrys.