Close contest in Multan exposes PPP weak points
MULTAN, July 20: It is time for the Gilanis to look back on the election trail.
Although PPP candidate Abdul Qadir Gilani retained the seat vacated by his father, former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, in a by-election for NA-151 on Thursday, the tough time given to the party by independent candidate Shaukat Bosan exposes many of its weak points.
Political observers say the Gilani camp, which banked on influential people of the area, seems to have lost support of PPP workers and the man on the street.
During his four-year tenure, Mr Gilani would invite notables of the area to the Prime Minister’s House in Islamabad. And the commoners waited for the day of the ballot to demonstrate their displeasure.
Mr Gilani used to fly to Lahore on weekends and formed a team to be in touch with people of his constituency on his behalf.
But the team, comprising his younger brother Mujtaba Gilani, sons Musa and Qadir Gilani and members of the Punjab Assembly from NA-151, failed to deliver. People complain that members of the team obliged only their cronies.
According to a source, one of the MPAs had ditched the Gilanis after developing difference with the former prime minister.
Though the MPA was brought back to the group by members of his clan, he did not participate actively in electioneering for the junior Gilani.
Relatively thin turnout at several polling stations which were earlier strongholds of the PPP was another major cause which brought the contest to the edge for the Gilanis.
The team failed to motivate people in PP-198 and PP-199 to come to polling stations. The Gilanis failed to effectively mobilise PPP workers.
During the tenure of his premiership, PPP workers were the most neglected community in the district because Mr Gilani did nothing to strengthen the party’s organisational structure.
Although some party workers received a few favours, the overall administrative and party affairs remained in the hands of a select group which usually scored the rank and file.
The workers were not allowed even to meet the former prime minister during the election campaign.
“Mr Gilani has spent much time in the PM House, Presidency and DHA Lahore and now he should own the NA-151 constituency if he wants to avoid a defeat in the general election,” said a PPP worker.