PML-N leader and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Monday blamed rising inflation for his party’s defeat at the hands of PTI in Sunday’s by-elections, saying the Imran Khan-led party secured additional 15,000 votes in every constituency owing to people’s rage against high utility bills.
The remarks from the minister came a day after the PTI managed to secure six out of eight National Assembly seats in the crucial by-elections.
Despite claiming a lion’s share of the seats, the party also lost two of the NA seats — NA-157 Multan-IV and NA-237 Malir-II —that it had won in 2018. Its defeat on both the seats came at the hands of PPP.
The PML-N got just one of the dozen seats up for grabs, winning PP-139 Sheikhupura-V, which was its own seat.
Explaining the reasons for the party’s defeat at a press conference in Islamabad today, the minister said people had “high hopes” from the PML-N after it took the charge in April this year as they expected the party to curtail inflation.
“However, we could not fulfill those expectation,” Sanaullah admitted.
He also reminded the PTI that the PML-N had been winning majority of the by-elections during PTI rule, saying “inflation was the key reason at that time as well”.
He said the government would have overcome the crisis if it was not for floods. The minister maintained that the government would provide relief to people in the coming two to three months.
‘If you want elections, come back to parliament’Addressing the PTI chief, Sanaullah reiterated that the government cannot be forced to go to polls through use of intimidation.
“If you want elections, then join the parliament. The way to elections is only through the parliament,” he added.
He also warned Imran of a “befitting reply” from the government if his party attempted to march on Islamabad.
He called out the PTI for “introducing the culture of mob”, saying if the nation believed “this culture can continue then we are also a part of the country and we will pursue it as well.”
Sanaullah said PTI must brace for the consequences of the tactics it was employing, warning the that plan of the Imran-led party will eventually came back to haunt it.
"We could not fulfill public expectations and their rage reflected in the results of by-elections," admits the interior minister.