11 July 2024

The Bhumjaithai Party is ready to join hands with any party to form a new government, after the next general election. Its leader, Anutin Charnvirakul, is qualified to be the next prime minister, according to Newin Chidchob, a former key member of the party, in an exclusive interview with Thai PBS.

Although he used to be in conflict with fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who is considered the de facto leader of Pheu Thai Party, Newin said he is now just an ordinary member of the Bhumjaithai Party, and the party leader Anutin has never had a conflict with Thaksin.

“I have nothing to do with the Bhumjaithai Party’s affairs. I am just a headmaster, an “Uncle Newin”. It is the party’s business to deal with (the matter), because I am just a party member, not an executive. The people who are now in the Bhumjaithai, Pheu Thai, Democrat or Palang Pracharath parties are not in conflict with one another, so why can’t theyjoin together?” asked Newin, currently manager of the Buri Ram soccer team who is, however, still regarded as the de facto leader of Bhumjaithai Party.

“If their policies are compatible and beneficial for the people, everything is possible,” said Newin.

Regarding Anutin, he said that, about four years ago, the Bhumjaithai party leader barely understood the context of grass roots or rural people but, after occupying the post ofpublic health minister for almost four years, he said Anutin has learned about the sufferings of the people, the impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic on the economy and so on.

“I think that he (Anutin) is ready (to assume the premiership post),” said Newin, adding that, in Thai politics, it is axiomatic that there are neither real friends nor permanent foes.

As long as the country is divided by ‘coloured-shirt’ politics, he said that there is no way for Thailand to move forward, adding that one thing that has allowed Buri Ram to prosper and advance in the past decade, compared to many other provinces, is “because we do not have ‘colour’ politics.”

He said Anutin has proven to the people, in his capacity as deputy prime minister and public health minister, that the Bhumjaithai party keeps its promises to the people.

The veteran former politician claimed he has already washed his hands of politics and has found happiness in life working with his football team.

“I will never go back to hell (politics) again,” he told Thai PBS, adding however that he is willing to offer political advice if asked.

As for his son, Chaichanok, who has joined the Bhumjaithai Party to contest the next election in his hometown of Buri Ram, Newin said he would not stop his son, but will let him learn by himself.

“If he is happy, he can go on but, if not, he can come back,”he said as, he denied that he has groomed his son to be the next political heir of the Chidchob family.