Buri Ram, which is the stronghold of the Bhumjaithai Party, as are some provinces in the lower Northeast such as Surin, Chaiyaphum and Nakhon Ratchasima, are now being targeted after the ruling administration struck “deals”' to bring politicians from other regions into its fold.
They include those from central provinces including Nakhon Pathom, where the Sasomsap family wields considerable political influence, and the eastern region which is the stronghold of the Phalang Chon Party, sources said.
Anutin Charnvirakul, leader of Bhumjaithai, is running the party after veteran Buri Ram politician Newin Chidchob decided to turn his back on politics to focus on football and motor sports in the province, though Mr Newin is still widely perceived to still be a highly influential political figure.
Speculation is rife that the regime is forging alliances with small- and medium-sized parties to draw former MPs from their ranks to join a party being established to support Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha to return as prime minister after an election expected in February next year.
According to the government sources, at least 21 developmental projects worth about B20.7 billion for Buri Ram and the lower Northeastern provinces were due to be proposed for approval at the Cabinet meeting yesterday.
Niran Kultanan, a lecturer at Buriram Rajabhat University’s Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty, said it was obvious that the aim of the Cabinet trip was to build political alliances to support Gen Prayut, as was the case during previous trips to other regions.
“Local people and everyone share the same opinion,'” he said. Mr Niran said local people are suffering from the impact of the economic slump, and they hoped the Cabinet trip would come up with measures to ease their plight.
“It [the trip] is intended to seek political gains. They know that at least 25 House seats in the lower Northeastern provinces, which are the support bases of medium-sized parties, will be crucial in nominating a prime minister. And in this region, Bhumjaithai and Newin Chidchob are key,'” Mr Niran said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon held a separate meeting yesterday with local governing officials from the lower Northeast at Buri Ram Provincial Hall.
He said officials must use the government’s Pracharath people-state partnership approach to encourage more local people to support state development efforts.
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