UDD colleagues in Pheu Thai dispute

UDD colleagues in Pheu Thai dispute

Upcoming PAO poll ignites war of words

Jatuporn Prompan
Jatuporn Prompan

Former Pheu Thai MP Worachai Hema on Sunday lashed out at red-shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan who criticised the opposition party for abandoning a key party figure during a local election campaign in Chiang Mai.

Mr Worachai, also a core member of the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) which Mr Jatuporn chairs, said Mr Jatuporn was making a false claim against the party only to win votes for a candidate he supported.

Mr Jatuporn accused the main opposition Pheu Thai Party of deserting Boonlert Buranupakorn, a person he called a democracy fighter. Mr Jatuporn was in Chiang Mai on Saturday to help Mr Boonlert in his campaign in the provincial administrative organisation (PAO) election.

Mr Worachai insisted that Pheu Thai has always upheld democracy and never abandoned party members and supporters.

Mr Boonlert, who leads the Chiang Mai Khunnatham group, is standing against Pheu Thai candidate Pichai Lertpongadisorn in the Dec 20 PAO poll.

Mr Worachai urged voters to consider who was the "real deal" when they cast their votes.

Mr Jatuporn said he decided to help Mr Boonlert because he was touched Mr Boonlert's spirit and felt sympathetic with Mr Boonlert after he was abandoned by his own party.

According to the UDD chairman, Mr Boonlert, a former PAO chairman in Chiang Mai, was suspended from the post by an order of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) in 2016 after he was linked to a campaign against the draft charter.

Mr Boonlert's suspension from duty followed a raid on six locations linked to him, in which authorities found letters containing distorted information about the draft charter. However, he was reinstated as PAO chairman in June 2018, according to Mr Jatuporn.

"And now we have issues with the 2017 charter such as the military-appointed senate," Mr Jatuporn said. "Mr Boonlert saw the problem and has campaigned against it since 2016. I'm asking you to make a choice of who you will vote for, if not a person who fought against it."

He also said the attack against him was part of a political strategy to draw the votes away and he might consider supporting Pheu Thai's PAO candidates in other provinces, but definitely not in Chiang Mai.

Mr Boonlert was among 15 people who were indicted in the Military Court of the 33rd Military Circle in December 2016 for disseminating letters containing misleading information about the draft charter.

The others included Tassanee Buranupakorn, a former president of Chiang Mai PAO and former Pheu Thai MP, Pairat Maichompoo, deputy president of Chiang Mai PAO, and Kachen Jiakkachorn, the mayor of Tambon Chang Phuak Municipality.

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