After a clean sweep in the general elections and defeat in the by-elections, the PTI is facing a lot of opposition. People are attributing their defeat to the new government’s ‘anti-people’ policies while others are raising questions about the general election results. Many supporters are also concerned about their own positions in Peshawar.
In the first phase of the by-election, the PTI candidates who faced defeat in Lahore blame it on ‘inflation’.
However, the most concerning defeat was in the second phase of the by-election. The party lost the election in PK-71 Peshawar. The ANP’s win may have given it a ‘new spirit’ but it served a serious blow to the PTI’s confidence.
Why did they lose?
The ruling party lost its PK-71 seat in Peshawar to ANP’s Salahuddin. He got 11,416 votes to the PTI candidate Zulfiqar Khan’s 10,004 votes. Independent candidate Dildar Khan came third with 5,409 votes.
Zulfiqar is the brother of KP Governor Shah Farman. Giving him the ticket was the last straw for Salahuddin, who was once a member of the PTI.
He has a strong vote-bank in the area, as proven by the fact that he was elected. During the July 25 general elections, the PTI gave two tickets to Farman — PK- 70 and PK-71 — ignoring Salahuddin.
Despite this, Salahuddin supported Farman and expected that he would be given the ticket after the seat was vacated by Farman when he was appointed governor. However, when Salahuddin attempted to get the ticket, he found out that it had been given to the governor’s brother instead.
Salahuddin then left the PTI and joined the ANP, who promptly awarded him the PK-71 ticket.
Senior journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai took to Twitter to discuss the matter and said Zulfiqar’s defeat was due to nepotism. “Salahuddin was an active member of the PTI until his last day in the party,” he said, adding that he left the party in protest because they didn’t give him the ticket.
Its true opposition parties backed ANP’s Salahuddin (11,416 votes) to defeat PTI’s Zulfiqar (10,004) in PK-71 Peshawar. But giving ticket to Governor Shah Farman’s brother Zulfiqar upset PTI workers. Salahuddin quit PTI to join ANP. PTI’s Dildar Khan got 5,409 as independent.
— Rahimullah Yusufzai (@rahimyusufzai1) October 21, 2018
This is a lesson for the PTI that workers have rejected nepotism, Yusufzai said.
However, a point to note is that the PTI lost by around 1,400 votes even though Salahuddin had a lot of support and Zulfiqar faced opposition from within his own party. The small margin by which he was defeated lends support to the PTI’s narrative that it’s a ‘popular’ party.
If the PTI had selected its candidate on merit instead of legacy, it could have won by a margin of 4,000.
Read the story in Urdu here.