Nawaz Sharif expected to meet hundreds of notables from NA-122 at his residence in Raiwind
Cancelling his official engagements in Islamabad, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will devote his entire day today (Monday) to meetings in Lahore in connection with the upcoming by-polls at the NA-122 seat and the local government (LG) elections in Punjab.
The PM House also confirmed that the prime minister will spend his first working day in the provincial capital and will start the official work at the PM House from Tuesday.
The prime minister also held a meeting on Sunday with his close aides including Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and trustworthy bureaucrats at his residence. The interior minister also held a long meeting with the Punjab CM prior to the meeting with the prime minister.
Sources said the prime minister will hold a secret meeting with the notables from NA-122 constituency at his residence in Raiwind today.
According to ECP guidelines, the prime minister cannot interact with potential voters at the by-poll constituency. Sources said PML-N is trying to dispel the impression that the PM has himself stepped in to campaign for the party’s candidate.
The PML-N has already employed Railways’ Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique in addition to 40 MPAs and 15 MNAs to boost campaign in favour of the party’s candidate Sardar Ayaz Sadiq. The polling at NA-122 is scheduled for October 11.
Hamza Shahbaz Sharif has also started the PML-N’s election campaign while Maryam Nawaz Sharif has sent her personal team to arrange her visit to the constituency before the polling day. Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has also thrown tea parties for around 400 notables of NA-122 before and after Eidul Azha to make sure Sadiq’s victory.
Sources said the prime minister’s meeting will determine the strategy to address the challenge of PTI in both the by-election and the upcoming LG polls. They said the party believes that it will not only defend PML-N’s position at the NA-122 but will also succeed in winning the seat again.
Sources said Punjab chief minister and Chaudhry Nisar briefed the prime minister that the party could not afford to lose NA-122 and that the PM should himself interact with people of the constituency.
They said if PTI won the by-elections then Imran Khan would launch an aggressive campaign against the PML-N both in the centre and Punjab on the one-point agenda of fresh elections.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 5th, 2015.