A rift has widened between factions in the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) movement following accusations that its chairwoman has been treating fellow red-shirts unfairly.
Kwanchai Praipana, head of the Khon Rak Udon (We Love Udon) red-shirt faction from Udon Thani province, said red shirts in 20 northeastern provinces would no longer participate in activities organised by UDD chairwoman Tida Tawornseth.
Mrs Tida did not permit northeastern red-shirt leaders to introduce themselves on stage during the recent UDD rally at Bonanza Resort in Pak Chong district of Nakhon Ratchasima, he said.
Mrs Tida is not a real red-shirt member, he said.
She became the UDD chairwoman without the support of red-shirt followers, but to satisfy her own desire to be well-known.
He accused Mrs Tida of trying to gain power within the red shirts so she could win a political position from the "Dubai boss".
Mr Kwanchai was referring to deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
He also accused Mrs Tida of trying to woo supporters by raising the cases of red-shirt demonstrators killed in the 2010 political protests and those jailed after the rallies.
"The UDD is in decline today," Mr Kwanchai said.
"Mrs Tida and I will go our different ways. The northeastern red-shirt group will not join any UDD activities led by Mrs Tida."
Pheu Thai list MP and red shirt co-leader Chinnawat Habunphat said Mrs Tida should change her behaviour. He said he used to warn her about her temper. Some political insiders have accused her of acting like a dictator in the UDD.
Mr Chinnawat said Mrs Tida should focus less on controlling the UDD and should let other red-shirt factions have more exposure.
Some UDD core members, such as Waipoj Apornrat and Payap Panket, have left the movement to form their own Ramasoon group because of her leadership, he said.
Mrs Tida said yesterday that Mr Kwanchai might have misunderstood the UDD's objectives. She said his anger with her would not divide the movement.
Red shirt co-leader Jatuporn Prompan yesterday denied that Mrs Tida had prevented regional UDD leaders from going on stage at the resort.
The appearance was arranged by UDD representatives from each region, not by Mrs Tida, he said.
Mrs Tida's husband Weng Tojirakarn, who is a Pheu Thai list MP and a UDD co-leader, also denied Mr Kwanchai's accusation that he used to be a Democrat.
Meanwhile, Korkaew Pikulthong, a Pheu Thai Party MP, said the UDD is standing firm that any amnesty granted to political offenders including the red shirts would not cover leaders of the protest movements.
Some UDD members have insisted the amnesty should be issued as an an executive decree for speedy enforcement.
However, some believe the move would provoke new rounds of social conflicts.
Mr Weng said any members of the movement to be excluded from the proposed amnesty must first be defined.
Mr Korkaew said any amnesty is unlikely to be extended to him even though he had no power in directing the UDD during the protests.
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- Writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth