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Can Bilawal make the PPP relevant in Punjab and beyond?

IT may be fashionable to say that Benazir Bhutto’s son must overcome Asif Ali Zardari’s influence on his politics.

But the actual task of infusing some life into the PPP outside Sindh will require far more than Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari having a freer hand to run the party.
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The Zardari factor is something to contend with, as highlighted by the refrain accompanying the recent party activity including a rally from Lahore to Faisalabad.

Party organisation is daunting work in itself especially when much of it has been eaten into by others, especially the PTI.

There is no PPP organisation in Punjab and other vast areas in the country. And one can be frank about it: the cadres disappeared not because they had any principled differences with Mr Zardari.

They fled after they were convinced Mr Zardari was not likely to throw a big enough challenge to the Sharifs.

They tolerated and stayed with Mr Zardari until they were sure about his future. Now as he tries desperately to reclaim some of the old workers, Mr Bhutto-Zardari must restore his party’s status as a serious contender for power.

If this most difficult goal is achieved the chances of him winning them back will brighten.

There are issues with how he is going about it. The PPP chairman has been lashing out at the Sharifs without apparently considering it necessary to find fault with the party that has replaced the PPP as the main opposition to the PML-N.

At best his — indirect — references to Imran Khan’s potential, or lack of it, have been vague or subdued.

His mention of Z.A. Bhutto and his legacy today do not quite ignite the positive nostalgia they did in the past.

Even Ms Bhutto would appear to so many today to be lost somewhere deep in history. The PPP headed by Bhutto and then Benazir Bhutto is done and dusted.

There is more interest in finding out what the chairman’s answers are to the recent allegations of corruption against the PPP, and the workers want a new party altogether.

It would make sense if he were to choose to respond to some of these current allegations with facts at his public meetings. Also, it is important he take on the PTI simultaneously as he goes after the PML-N.

In the end, Mr Bhutto-Zardari must come up with positive examples from his own government in Sindh to start being relevant in Punjab and beyond.

courtesy : dawn news

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