Flood victims welcome Prayut in Singburi, Thaksin’s daughter in Ubon Ratchathani
Though Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha received a warm welcome when he visited Singburi, former PM Thaksin Shinawatra’s daughter was met with effusive cheers in the Northeast province of Ubon Ratchathani.
The leaders of the two opposite sides of government were meeting flood victims in their strongholds on Monday.
Prayut flew to Singburi in a helicopter with Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda, Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin and Digital Economy and Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakhamanusorn.
Landing at the provincial stadium in Muang district, Prayut was welcomed by Palang Pracharath Party MP Chotwut Thanakhamanusorn and several locals, some of whom held up placards reading “Uncle Tu fighting” and “We Love Uncle Tu”. The premier’s nickname is Tu.
After receiving a briefing on the situation from Chotwut, Prayut’s entourage then travelled by car to Moo 3 village in Muang’s Bang Krabu sub-district, where they took boats to visit flooded areas near the banks of the Chao Phraya. The river broke its banks and submerged the area for more than a month now.
Before boarding the boat, Prayut met villagers and told them he had come to give them moral support. He even hugged and agreed to pose for selfies with them.
Upon arriving in the inundated area, the premier said he had come to see what can be done to ease the situation and on his way back he told the locals that he had instructed officials to deploy water pumps to drain the floods. He promised that the floods should be cleared in a few days.
Prayut then checked out flooding in the Tha Chang district’s Wat Phikulthong area before flying back to Bangkok.
Meanwhile, Paetongtarn Shinawatra, who oversees the Pheu Thai Family Project, headed to Ubon Ratchathani in the Northeast on Monday. She was accompanied by Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew and several core party members including secretary-general Prasert Chanruangthong and spokesperson Theerarat Samretwanich.
Her entourage was met at Ubon Ratchathani airport by hundreds of supporters dressed in red, many of whom handed her red roses and tied pha khao ma cloth to her waist.
The group also shouted slogans like “Pheu Thai Family Fighting, Ung Ing fighting”, referring to Paetongtarn by her nickname.
The group first headed to the mitigation centre in Ubon Ratchathani’s Muang district to check on the progress made in registering complaints and helping flood victims.
Ubon Ratchathani has been hit hard by massive runoffs from upstream provinces bombarded by heavy downpours.
Paetongtarn’s entourage then visited the flood shelter in Warin Chamrap district where some 1,000 villagers are being housed after they were evacuated from Bung Mai sub-district.
The villagers, who have been there for two months now, were delighted to see the politicians and greeted them with offerings of the traditional pha khao ma loincloths.
Paetongtarn and the Pheu Thai leaders also stopped at a tent to speak to an 82-year-old woman, who said she wanted to go home.
People at the centre said the floods this year were worse than in 2019, but they had received little help from the government or the private sector. The villagers were also very understanding when the party told them they could not offer support because it would break Election Commission (EC) regulations.
Speaking to reporters later, Paetongtarn said she and her party members were very sad they could not offer even basic necessities due to the election rules.
The EC has set May 7 as a tentative election date and declared that any handouts given to potential voters within 180 days of the poll will be seen as vote-buying.
Cholnan said that with the opposition’s hands tied, the government should accelerate help provided to flood victims.