Battle for throne of Punjab: With four new independent MPA elect joining PTI, number game tilts

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Battle for throne of Punjab: With four new independent MPA elect joining PTI, number game tilts

ISLAMABAD - Four more independent MPAs have joined PTI on Monday taking the PTI tally to over 140 including 8 from the PML Q.

For a simple majority PTI needs at least 149 directly elected MPAs out of 297 general members to form government in the largest province of the country in terms of population.

In a meeting with PTI chairman Imran Khan, MPAs-elect Saeed Akbar Niwani from PP-90 Bhakkar, Ameer Muhammad Khan from PP-89 Bhakkar, Fida Wattoo from Bahawalnagar and Abdul Hai Dasti from PP-270 Muzaffargarh announced they would lend their support for the PTI, a press release by the party's Central Media Department said.

After the July 25 vote, the PML-N has emerged as the single-largest party in the Punjab Assembly with 129 seats, while the PTI has a tally of 123. The PML-Q has eight MPAs after the joining of an independent member, while the PPP has six. There are 28 independents in all.

The PML-N claims support of nine independent candidates, but has not made their names public. Its efforts to woo the PPP and PML-Q are proving futile. It had assigned National Assembly former speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq the task of persuading the ‘Q’ leadership to support ‘N’ in the race for the chief minister’s office.

The PTI leadership claims it is closing in on its goal of 149 seats in the Punjab Assembly. It has so far mustered the support of 14 independents, taking its tally to 137 — eight more than the PML-N’s total. Four independents joined the party on Saturday and six others on Sunday.

Expecting to rope in 10 more independents in the next two days and with the support of PML-Q’s eight seats, the PTI leaders had been tweeting “Game over for PML-N”.