Pheu Thai's candidate for the Bangkok governor election, Pongsapat Pongcharoen, has shrugged off Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva's warning over his campaign pledges.
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Pol Gen Sereepisuth Temeeyaves, an independent candidate for Bangkok governor, puts on a necklace of Buddha amulets during a campaign stop at Talat Phra in the Saphan Mai area of Bang Khen district yesterday. TAWATCHAIKEMGUMNERD
Mr Abhisit on Tuesday challenged several of Pol Gen Pongsapat's campaign promises, saying they could be in breach of the law.
Pol Gen Pongsapat said he would like to thank Mr Abhisit for his comments on his campaign pledges, but his policy platform focused on the all-round development of Bangkok.
Mr Abhisit had warned the Pheu Thai candidate he could be breaking the law because he was promising things that were outside the Bangkok governor's jurisdiction.
These included reducing the rent on stalls at Chatuchak market and expanding Bangkok's free bus service scheme to include all non-aircon buses.
Mr Abhisit said the market is overseen by the State Railway of Thailand, while bus services are controlled by the Transport Ministry.
Pol Gen Pongsapat said he is paying attention to the grievances and needs of the city's residents and any project which he thought would help would be carried out immediately.
He would seek cooperation from state agencies if projects or services under their control would benefit city dwellers, he said.
He would also seek additional funding from the government if projects proved too expensive for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), he said.
Discussing his bus plan, Pol Gen Pongsapat said if he was elected governor, he would make sure all 1,600 non-aircon buses in the city, including privately-run mini-buses, were free.
The BMA would hire private bus operators to run the services, he said.
Currently, there are 800 free non-aircon buses in Bangkok.
The Pheu Thai candidate said he had discussed his campaign strategy with the Election Commission and was fully aware of the Bangkok governor's powers.
"Why would I run for Bangkok governor if I planned to sit idly by without trying to work with other agencies to do things outside my jurisdiction?" he said.
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- Writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth