Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday laid claim to water resources management, saying although Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon has been given a remit, he has the final say on all major decisions.
Gen Prayut made the comment during a visit to Nakhon Sawan's Banphot Phisai district to inspect Bung Bon water management scheme in what some have seen as a move to undermine Gen Prawit, who oversees water management.
"I set up the Office of the National Water Resources (ONWR) to coordinate water management because there are many agencies. I've assigned Gen Prawit to oversee water management, but everything must be approved by the prime minister and the cabinet.
"We must consider if it is suitable and if we have funds to implement. We must manage this and take into consideration if it is urgent," said Gen Prayut, who also introduced the ONWR's secretary-general.
The ONWR was created in December 2017 by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to take care of water management planning and passing policy and visions down through 20 state agencies.
However, political rivalry between Gen Prayut and Gen Prawit is being closely watched after the former pulled away from the ruling Palang Pracharath Party headed by Gen Prawit.
When the PPRP recently made a pre-election pledge to raise monthly allowances for state welfare cardholders to 700 baht, PM's Office Minister Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana claimed the scheme was actually the brainchild of Gen Prayut, who is now a member of the United Thai Nation (UTN) Party.
Gen Prawit was also spotted in several areas where Gen Prayut was scheduled to visit, seeking assurances from PPRP MPs that they would not defect to the UTN.
PPRP MP for Nakhon Sawan Sanya Nilsupan and PPRP MP for Phichit Surachart Sribussakorn turned up in Banphot Phisai district to welcome the prime minister. Both are believed to be considering switching to the UTN.
Prior to that, Gen Prayut travelled to Muang district to inspect the Bung Boraphet water management scheme for sustainable and modern farming.
Gen Prayut was accompanied by his secretary-general Pirapan Salirathavibhaga and adviser Seksakol Atthawong. In Muang district, he was greeted by PPRP MP for Nakhon Sawan and chief government whip Nirote Sunthornlekha.