By Thai Newsroom Reporters
A NOVEL CONSPIRACY has been quietly hatched to trim down the influence of Palang Pracharath secretary-general Thammanat Prompow over the rank and file of the ruling party to the extent that he be eventually kept out of the way for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to prolong his rule beyond the next election.
Thammanat, who was deposed as deputy agriculture and cooperatives minister following last month’s no-confidence motion against the premier and five other cabinet members, is feared to stand in the way of Prayut who is widely speculated to be officially named a Palang Pracharath candidate for head of a post-election government, according to partisan sources who only spoke on condition that they not be identified.
Prayut, who has informally offered to run the country for five more years from now, will no longer rely on Thammanat while looking to patch up differences with Palang Pracharath Party leader/Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, the sources said.
The hush-hush conspiracy against Thammanat is designed to have Prawit see to it that the party secretary-general will not take steps to thwart Prayut’s desire to prolong his rule under support of the biggest coalition partner in government, the sources said.
Thammanat was terminally blamed for mobilising more Palang Pracharath MPs to accompany Prawit on his recent visits to areas considerably affected by flooding only to outnumber those who escorted Prayut on his official trips to some flood-hit provinces, they said.
Thammanat had earlier expressed his embarrassment at the dilemma which he had encountered following the no-confidence motion and reportedly contemplated quitting as secretary-general of the Palang Pracharath Party but was finally persuaded by the party leader to change his mind.
The event in which Prawit finally talked Thammanat into staying put so that the latter could continue to work for the former considerably dissatisfied the pro-Prayut factions within the largest government party.
Thammanat was apparently held responsible for an alleged plot to have a number of Palang Pracharath and other government MPs abstain from voting in support of Prayut in the post-censure motion at parliament.
The aborted revolt against Prayut almost immediately resulted in Thammanat being ousted as deputy agriculture and cooperatives minister alongside Naruemon Pinyosinwat who was deposed as deputy labour minister. Both Thammanat and Naruemon are invariably viewed as proteges of the party leader.
Meanwhile, the recent naming of former deputy Democrat Party leader Pirapan Salirathavipak as adviser to the Palang Pracharath Party leader was largely seen as part of the conspiracy, the sources said.
Pirapan, who concurrently acts as adviser to Prayut and was practically assigned to coordinate between the premier and the deputy premier, has been received with cold shoulders by many of the Palang Pracharath MPs who considered him ”untrustworthy,” they said.
In 2019, Pirapan was outvoted by Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanavisit in the partisan picking of a Democrat Party leader to replace former one/ex-premier Abhisit Vejjajiva who called it quits in protest of Prayut having been endorsed by Democrat MPs among other legislators as head of the Palang Pracharath-led coalition government.
Palang Pracharath Party secretary-general Thammanat Prompow distributing relief supply kits to flood victims in Nonthaburi province last week. Photos: Siam Rath