What happened at Lodhran?
Ali Tareen`s loss in NA 154 has proven out to be a major political setback for PTI and has dented its plans for the upcoming general elections. This election was supposed to be an easy win for PTI but quite dramatically, PML-Ns candidate thrashed Ali Tareen by a lead of around 20000 votes which in turn strengthened PML-Ns case for the general elections, leaving PTI on a back foot and forcing it to rethink its strategies.
Imran Khan’s narrative regarding dynastic politics and the irony, in this case, maybe a factor, however, there were several other reasons for the loss, predicted by political pundits quite a while ago.The dramatic yet inspiring political fame over the last five years and the ‘Tabdeeli” phenomenon had become an instant success for PTI winning the popular vote and emerging as the second largest party in the country in 2013.The conventional Pakistani democracy is basically where flag bearers of dynastic politics eventually become the mainstay of political parties, preventing the political workers on the ground to ascend to power corridors.
Imran Khan did defy his own strict principles in Lodhran but let’s be real Khan`s options were limited. Whether Ali Tareen was the soundest choice for the captain or not? Is another debate but the tables have surely turned in Lodhran. The nomination may have lead to factions within the party at the district level enervating the whole campaign and Tareen`s sense of entitlement with the voters.
The apex court`s judgment last December did deteriorate his reputation but could that lead to twenty thousand vote deficit? Did Khan`s tigers and tigresses felt betrayed by Ali Tareen`s nomination or it was the NA 1 Peshawar episode all over again
Fortunately for the ruling elite “Biradrism” plays a major role in our choices and as always PTI fails to capitalize it being inconsistent with their values or the prevailing egocentrism. There have been reports of the local population being unhappy with Tareens political tactics which compelled them to remain neutral or allied with PML-N in one way or the other.
Tareen`s appointment as the head of the election review committee raises some serious concerns regarding neutrality in the captain`s call and his biases towards Tareen. How can a person, who shares the major blame for the defeat, lead a free and fair investigation of the simple yet far-reaching reasons behind this defeat? One can only question the decision making of Imran Khan, his deviation from his own principles and his plan for the upcoming challenge.
PTI`s failure to capitalize the Panama judgment along with what happened at Lodhran will be critical towards the road to general elections. While Ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is on a political rampage, addressing massive rallies with the everlasting “Mujhe Kyun Nikala” Imran needs to retain his political ground, critical for the upcoming challenge.