By Thai Newsroom Reporters
PHUMTHAM WECHAYACHAI, right-hand man of de facto Pheu Thai boss/”sickly” convict Thaksin Shinawatra, today (Nov.9) categorically dismissed allegations that Pheu Thai leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra has been quietly outperforming Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.
According to the deputy prime minister-cum-commerce minister, the newly-named Pheu Thai leader, daughter of the de facto party boss, and the prime minister have been constantly working in harmony and one has been by no means more practically influential to the Pheu Thai and coalition partners than the other.
Phumtham was apparently responding to criticism that not only the Pheu Thai rank and file but all the coalition partners would practically lend an ear to Paetongtarn rather than Srettha albeit in discreet fashion as long as her “sickly” father who has been staying at Police Hospital for more than a couple of months is concerned.
Phumtham, earlier known as Pheu Thai wheeler-dealer through whom the “sickly” Thaksin had allegedly taken part in the power play literally from his hospital ward over the setup of the Pheu Thai-led coalition government and allocation of cabinet portfolios, maintained that the Pheu Thai leader’s roles are substantially unrelated to those of the prime minister.
Nevertheless, Thaksin’s youngest daughter is more or less speculated to succeed Srettha as a future head of the Pheu Thai-led coalition government. Both were among a trio of partisan contestants for prime minister in last May’s general election.
The prime minister yesterday held a chit chat over dinner at a ritzy restaurant in Sathorn Road area with several Pheu Thai and other coalition partners’ members of cabinet and with the Pheu Thai leader.
Representing the Palang Pracharath as one of the coalition partners were Palang Pracharath Secretary-General-cum-Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao and Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Natural Resources & Environment Minister Patcharawat Wongsuwan whilst Palang Pracharath leader Prawit Wongsuwan, earlier viewed as kingmaker in the time of a previous Palang Pracharath-led coalition government, did not show up.
The prime minister earlier said he and his cabinet members were preparing themselves for a joint address to parliament over the government’s performance during the first couple of months in office.
Top and Front Page: Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin with Pheu Thai leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra. Both photos: Thai Rath
Insert: Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai.Photo: Matichon