By Thai Newsroom Reporters
BHUMJAITHAI PARTY leader Anutin Charnvirakul today (June 17) shrugged off tomorrow’s planned recruitment of Red Shirt activists as Pheu Thai Family members in certain parts of Sisaket, considering it as a commonplace campaign tactic.
Anutin who concurrently acts as deputy prime minister-cum-public health minister referred to the fresh popularity-wooing campaign launched by Pheu Thai Party scheduled for tomorrow in the northeastern constituencies where three Pheu Thai MPs are largely speculated to defect to Bhumjaithai Party during a run-up to the next general election.
Those renegade MPs of Sisaket, namely Jaturong Pengnorapat, Thira Traisaranakul and Pongsri Sae Jueng, have earlier voted against partisan resolutions including one toward the 2023 budget bill and been largely expected to leave Pheu Thai Party for Anutin’s camp in addition to two Bhumjaithai MPs who currently represent the northeastern province as well.
Given the much-heralded likelihood of former premier/de facto party owner Thaksin Shinawatra’s youngest daughter Paetongtarn Shinawatra becoming Pheu Thai candidate for head of a post-election government, the largest opposition party has been rebranded as Pheu Thai Family with Paetongtarn currently performing as its head and former Red Shirt leader Nattawut Saikua as director of its recruitment project.
The Pheu Thai Family campaign, entitled “Chase the Rat, Swat the Cobras”, was primarily designed to bring “back home” the pro-democracy activists, specifically those in northern and northeastern constituencies as part of a nationwide electoral campaign for Pheu Thai Party to score a landslide victory in the next general election for MPs.
In Thai political jargon, Anutin’s nickname Noo literally translates as a rat whilst a renegade lawmaker is likened to a “cobra”.
A large number of Red Shirt activists known to have voted for Pheu Thai candidates in previous elections are more or less speculated to reelect them.
Nevertheless, the Bhumjaithai leader commented it will be no cause for concern as the Nattawut-led campaign to recruit any Red Shirt members as prospective Pheu Thai voters despite the likelihood of those Pheu Thai MPs switching camps and that such activity is merely a campaign tactic of one party which, he said, may practically differ from that of another.
Anutin said all Bhumjaithai members of cabinet will certainly put themselves on campaign trails to woo popular support from constituents throughout the country.
The Bhumjaithai leader said he personally has had no enemies in the political arena and invariably regards all opposition legislators as “friends” though they may sit on the other side of the parliament chamber’s aisle. He claimed to have even made close friends with many of the Pheu Thai MPs.
Anutin remarked most people have had enough of political conflict and street violence which may have prevailed since the last several years and been desperately looking to find peaceful compromise.
In effort to make an increased number of MPs in the next race to parliament, Bhumjaithai Party has reportedly looked to recruit many currently belonging to Pheu Thai Party and others.
Under the hush-hush influence of former kingmaker Newin Chidchob, brother of Bhumjaithai party secretary-general/transport minister Saksayam Chidchob, Anutin’s party is being steered to retain the status of a post-election coalition partner no matter if the party leader himself might possibly ever become head of government.
Top: Bhumjaithai Party leader Anutin Charnvirakul. Photo: CNN
Front Page: Pheu Thai Family head Paetongtarn Shinawatra welcomes former Red Shirt leader Nattawut Saikua back to the party. Photo: Thansettakij