By The Nation
“I come here only as a brother to you. I don’t come here for political purposes,” Prayut said to local residents. “I just want to meet you, who are like family me to me, as well as all of my deputies and ministers.”
The one-day trip to the Northern province was Prayut’s first field visit in 2018. Last year, he made several visits to local areas, where approvals for multi-billion-baht development projects were made during mobile Cabinet meetings.
Prayut has insisted that it is a method to keep in touch with people and local authorities. However, critics said that Prayut could be using the visits to gain the upper hand in politics while the ruling junta is still imposing a ban on other political parties.
In Mae Hong Son, Prayut witnessed a ceremony granting land plots to 120 villagers before visiting development projects around the Pai river basin under the royal initiatives of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Prayut also visited a community operating under the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy and then went to a Pracharat-themed market, where he enjoyed dancing with folk dancers.