‘To be or not to be’ is probably the best-known line from all drama or literature, and certainly, if anyone is asked to quote a line of great dramatist William Shakespeare, this is the one from ‘Tragedy of Hamlet’ that first comes to mind for most people.
And if some one asks the ‘N’ and ‘Q’ elected representatives of the Punjab Assembly about the cabinet expansion, and allocation of portfolios, then there would be certainly quite a few wannabes with broad smiles, an equal number drawing long faces, and a large number with no expressions since they have lost the hope of reading out oath in front of the Governor Punjab.
For the last over six months far, prior to the expulsion of the PPP ministers and adoption of the PML-Q dissidents, the PML-N leaders, especially spokesperson Punjab government Senator Pervaiz Rasheed and Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan, have been issuing contradictory statements. The Senator is on record negating the assertion regarding expansion of the provincial cabinet. “We are running the province efficiently with minimum number of ministers, which is in accordance to our principled stance of actualising austerity to the maximum,” says the Senator whenever he is quizzed about adding of ministers to the tally of incumbent nine.
On the other hand, Senator’s party man Rana Sana has been repeatedly making headlines in the media when the latter has given hope to ‘disgruntled MPs’ that soon they would be sitting in ‘flagged cars’. It is perhaps coincidence that the Law Minister makes such statements, especially during the budget sessions of the Assembly. Every time, he states that new ministers would be inducted after this particular session. The latest one was on the first day of the general discussion on the fiscal outlay 2011-12. He mentioned that 13 MPAs would be nominated as ministers from the N-League, and no one from the Forward Bloc members would be given portfolios.
This he stated a day after Pervaiz Rasheed’s talk with TheNation when the Senator has categorically stated that there would not be any expansion in the provincial cabinet. According to him, the idea had been shelved for the time being after the PML-Q dissidents’ announcement that they were not switching loyalties for the sake of ministries.
However, the million dollar question is: Who is to be believed, the Minister or the Senator? Certainly, Chief Minister’s statement in this regard will act as the ‘final’ word.
In addition to this, the hopefuls also have a question: Is it better to be a Minister or only a Minister-in-waiting? The latter’s number is huge, and they would be keep on aligning with the PML-N till the fate is finally decided in the remaining 18 months of the parliamentary term.