Tuesday, March 29, 2022
In a dramatic turn of events, on Monday evening Prime Minister Imran Khan nominated Parvaiz Elahi as the chief minister in Punjab. Elahi is the leader of the PML-Q, a Punjab-based political party that is in coalition with Khan’s PTI.
At the moment, the PML-Q has five members in the National Assembly and 10 in the Punjab Assembly.
These votes are crucial for the PTI government that is trying to block attempts by the Opposition to sweep the prime minister from power, through a vote of no-trust.
For now, the situation at the centre remains fluid. Daily political developments suggest the balance can tilt either way on the day of the vote of no-confidence.
But by naming Elahi, can the PTI count on stability at least in Punjab?
Does Elahi even have the required votes to win in the provincial assembly? A major player in the province is the group of rebel PTI members of the provincial assembly (MPAs), who are led by the Jahangir Tareen group. Which way will they throw their support?
To be elected chief minister, Elahi will need 186 votes, therefore a simple majority, in the 371-strong Punjab Assembly.
As of now, the ruling coalition, which includes the PTI, Rah-e-Haq and the PML-Q, has a total of 194 members.
On the other side, the Opposition, which consists of the PML-N and PPP have 172.
Separately there are five independents in the assembly too.
For now, Elahi has more than enough votes, therefore over the 186 thresholds, to win over the slot of the chief minister. However, this is only if all those in the ruling coalition vote for Elahi.
What could throw a spanner in the works for the chief minister hopeful is the Jahangir Tareen group, which claims to have in its ranks over 20 MPAs. These MPAs are all from the ruling PTI.
If these go against Elahi, then he will need to break away a few MPAs from the PML-N to sail to the top.
The PTI already claims to have five MPAs from the PML-N and one from the PPP in Punjab, who they are sure have jumped ship and left the Opposition camp.
Elahi could also look towards the five independents in the Punjab Assembly, Jugnu Mohsin, Ahmad Ali Aulakh, Bilal Warraich, Qasim Abbas and Chaudhry Nisar for help.