By Thai Newsroom Reporters
IN WHAT WAS VIEWED as a repeated stealing of the scene, Palang Pracharath leader Prawit Wongsuwan today (Jan.20) visited Nakhon Sawan 10 days ahead of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s scheduled visit to the same province.
Prawit who paid the official visit as deputy prime minister to water resources development projects in Nakhon Sawan may have looked to rest assured that most Palang Pracharath MPs of the upper-central province will not hop over from his ruling party to the Ruam Thai Sang Chart which is promoting Prayut as partisan contender for prime minister in the next general election.
Prawit was met at prearranged venues in Nakhon Sawan by the Palang Pracharath MPs, including chief government whip Nirot Sunthornlekha, during today’s visit which was viewed as a political shenanigan in which the Palang Pracharath boss has repeatedly stolen the scene over Prayut’s planned visit to the same province around the end of this month.
On Tuesday, Prawit’s visit to Palang Pracharath MPs and a few other coalition MPs in Ratchaburi was followed by yesterday’s official visit by Prayut to the same western province.
Prawit and Prayut will almost certainly vie as partisan contestants for prime minister under the Palang Pracharath and Ruam Thai Sang Chart tickets respectively.
Despite the repeatedly-proclaimed “fraternal” relationship fostered over the past four decades between Prawit and Prayut, both have apparently engaged in a sustained tug of war against each other to recruit MPs into their camp as part of their common scheme to become head of a post-election government.
Prawit’s official visit to Nakhon Sawan, accompanied by Digital Economy & Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakhamanusorn and government whip/ Palang Pracharath MP Wirat Ratanaset, was reportedly prompted in part by hearsay that Prayut had planned to talk some of the Palang Pracharath MPs into hopping over to the Ruam Thai Sang Chart during a current run-up to the nationwide election.
Two of the three Palang Pracharath MPs currently representing Nakhon Sawan have already been tempted to some extent to switch parties in near future, said a partisan source.
Prawit was not only concerned over a possible defection of his Palang Pracharath MPs of Nakhon Sawan to the pro-Prayut party but to the Bhumjaithai, the partisan source said.
Veteran ex-MP Veerakorn Khamprakop has recently resigned from Prawit’s camp, thus immediately losing his MP status, with intent to join the Bhumjaithai and seek re-election under the banners of the second largest coalition partner, steered by de facto party boss Newin Chidchob.
Prayut who is seeking to retain power for two more years as allowed by court is more or less expected to hold hush-hush talks with those would-be defectors during his official visit to the upper-central province scheduled for January 30, he said.
Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Palang Pracharath leader Prawit Wongsuwan. Top photo: Thai Rath, Front Page photo: Matichon