Does Zardari need an Amar Singh to see through his presidential bid?

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Islamabad, Aug 26 : PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari seems to be safe as far as his presidential bid is concerned. In the 342-member strong National Assembly, the PPP has 125 members and the party can safely bank upon the support of at least 62 MNAs who are not affiliated or inclined towards any of the parties opposed to Zardari.

But, as the saying goes "nothing is sure in politics", Zardari might need a poll-manager of the likes of Amar Singh, of the Samajwadi Party (in India) who successfully mustered majority in Indian Parliament on July 22 for Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh's vote-of-confidence!

As far as breakup in the National Assembly is concerned, in order to get a majority and form a government, the PPP would require 172 votes. So, Zardari needs the support of at least 47 (i.e. 172 - 125 = 47) MNAs in order to win the election.

Former president Pervez Musharraf's old party, often called the "King's Party", the PML-Q has 54 seats, which looks to be lining up with former premier Nawaz Sharif's 91 votes in the Parliament.

Zardari's is learnt to be having the support of the ANP's 13 MNAs and the Mutihida Majlis-e-Amal coalition's 7 seats, as well as the Mutihida Qaumi Movement's 25 seats, giving him 45 additional votes.

Adding in a few Independents and Baloch leaders, who share around 17 seats between them, the PPP appears comfortable in ensuring its candidate win the presidential election.

But, according to the Daily Times, some "dramatic political developments" are about to unfurl to upset the calculated moves of different players as the PML-Q and the PML-N are preparing to join hands sooner than later while the unique Maulana of our politics - Fazlur Rehman - is preparing for anther somersault.

Zardari, who till Sunday was quite comfortable in the presidential race, has now certain hurdles to cross to clinch the top slot. The PML-N, which has announced the name of Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui as its presidential candidate, has already assigned Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Khwaja Asif to woo the PML-Q before it is hijacked by the other side - the Zardari House.

Sources said contacts have already been established between the PML-N and the PML-Q for a possible rapprochement. Majority members of the PML-Q, including even the Chaudhrys, are inclined to side with the PML-N though both sides are desirous of face-saving for a re-union.

According to an unidentified senior PML-Q leader, majority of the PML-Q members are inclined towards the PML-N, while there are several who are desirous of joining the PPP. As the situation stands today, the Q-League is all set to divide into two groups, he added.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who had extra-love for the PPP till Sunday, shocked the Zardari House on Monday by saying that it would be difficult for his party to go along with the PPP that had no respect for its words. The Maulana was referring to the breach of the PPP-PML-N agreement by Zardari. Interestingly, on Sunday the Maulana found fault with PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, whom he earlier considered "inflexible and stubborn".

Change in the Maulana's stance has raised some eyebrows. This development is seen as an indication of some hidden players' possible move to block Zardari's bid for the presidency. There are also reports that the JUI-F is considering fielding its own presidential candidate.

Amid all ifs and buts, a senior PPP leader said, in case Zardari's election there would possibly be certain deceptions within the PPP. While the PPP CEC unanimously endorsed Zardari's candidature, there are many in the party for whom it is really hard to digest to see Zardari as the president of Pakistan.

Secret balloting for the presidential poll, it is said, would harm the PPP candidate for the presidency, added the paper.

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