BATTLE FOR BANGKOK
Pheu Thai yesterday dismissed reports that red-shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan would become a deputy governor if the party wins tomorrow's Bangkok election.
Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit quoted Mr Jatuporn as saying the reports were groundless.
The red-shirt leader had helped Pheu Thai candidate Pongsapat Pongcharoen campaign for votes, but had not bargained for any city leadership position, Mr Prompong said.
Several media outlets had been reporting that Pheu Thai was considering appointing Mr Jatuporn, a core leader of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), as deputy governor if Pol Gen Pongsapat wins tomorrow's poll.
Observers said the rumour may have been leaked in a bid to sabotage Pheu Thai's election chances.
The rift between Pheu Thai and the UDD could widen, they said, if the party blocks Mr Jatuporn from the deputy's role. Many red-shirt supporters are already disappointed that Mr Jatuporn was overlooked in the latest cabinet reshuffle.
But if Pheu Thai accepted Mr Jatuporn as part of its governor team, the party would take a beating in tomorrow's poll because Mr Jatuporn is unpopular with Bangkok voters.
Mr Jatuporn played a key role leading red-shirt protests in 2010 which ended in violence.
Danuporn Punnakan, a Pheu Thai-list MP and spokesman for the party's Bangkok governor election coordinating centre, said the party's political heavyweights, including Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, would join Pol Gen Pongsapat on the last leg of his election campaign today.
The party will send campaign vehicles to all 50 Bangkok districts today, Mr Danuporn said.
Meanwhile, 10 police officers monitoring voting during tomorrow's election will be equipped with high-tech cameras capable of feeding live images and video footage from polling centres to the police bureau monitoring centre, Pol Maj Gen Adul Narongsak, a deputy city police chief, said yesterday.
The 10 officers will each carry a camera fitted to their shoulder, he said.
The cameras will transmit images and footage via the 3G mobile spectrum to the main office of the Metropolitan Police Bureau and would be used to detect any misconduct.
The recordings could later be used as evidence if needed, he said.
"Initially there will only be 10 cameras for police, but we will also have another five cameras for use by a mobile police force soon," he said.
"This is the first time that police will use modern technology to assist in ensuring an election is fair."
The city police bureau purchased the video cameras last year with the intention of deploying them in the field when yellow-shirt supporters gathered at Government House.
But officers never had the chance to put them to use, as the protest ended peacefully.
City police officers will also be issued with 10,000 handheld counters to cross-check the number of people voting against the number of votes cast in tomorrow's poll.
Metropolitan Police Bureau chief Pol Lt Gen Kamronwit Thoopkrachang said this would help ensure transparency in the election process.
The 10,000 counters were specially purchased for the task.
The counters will be distributed to officers stationed at every polling centre across the city.
At least 14,000 officers will be deployed across all 50 districts.
"Police are instructed to do their duty on polling day and ensure this is a clean election," Pol Lt Gen Kamronwit said.
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- Writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth