Pheu Thai Party elder Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan has backed Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen's campaign for Bangkok governor.
Khunying Sudarat was once tipped as a candidate for the governor race but later withdrew. She said she is always willing to help the party, but warned she may be rusty as she had stayed away from politics for quite some time.
Khunying Sudarat yesterday attended a meeting of the party committee drawing up campaign strategies for Pol Gen Pongsapat, who is contesting the governor election under the Pheu Thai banner.
She pledged Pheu Thai's city and district councillors, many of whom belong to her faction of the party, will make every effort to help Pol Gen Pongsapat's campaign.
Khunying Sudarat said the Pheu Thai nominee has a chance to win the race partly because his active role in the war on drugs, as secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), has made him a household name.
Chusak Sirinil, who sits on Pheu Thai's strategic committee, said after the meeting that Khunying Sudarat will appear on stage to address the public during Pol Gen Pongsapat's campaign stop at the town square in front of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration on Monday.
Noppadon Pattama, legal adviser to deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, said Thaksin is confident Pol Gen Pongsapat will win the race because Bangkok residents want a fresh face and want to see City Hall work in tandem with the government.
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday called on Pol Gen Pongsapat to explain why he is running in the governor race while retaining the post of the ONCB secretary-general.
Mr Abhisit said campaigning while still holding the ONCB post is improper.
On Wednesday, Justice Minister Pracha Promnok said he had not yet approved Pol Gen Pongsapat's resignation as ONCB secretary-general.
The candidate has submitted a letter of resignation but it is not yet effective, Pol Gen Pracha said.
He had told his adviser Suchon Chaleekrua to check whether Pol Gen Pongsapat's resignation is legal before granting it.
Mr Abhisit said Pol Gen Pongsapat could enjoy an advantage over his rivals in the governor race as long as he remains ONCB secretary-general.
Pol Gen Pongsapat should follow the footsteps of the Democrat Party's nominee, MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra, who resigned as Bangkok governor before his term ended, Mr Abhisit said.
Pol Gen Pongsapat is now campaigning with the help of state officials, which could violate the law, he said.
Pol Gen Pongsapat campaigned for votes in the Yaowarat area yesterday.
He promised to improve the landscape on both sides of the Chao Phraya River in the Ratchawong area by transforming them into recreational areas.
He also pledged to push for fare cuts for commuter ferries.
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Writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth & Supoj Wancharoen