Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra wants Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen, the Bangkok governor candidate for her Pheu Thai Party, to come up with more realistic campaign policies.
Suranand Vejjajiva, secretary-general to the prime minister, said Ms Yingluck wanted Pol Gen Pongsapat to woo votes with different, innovative and suitable policies that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) could achieve and to emphasise his advantage of being able to cooperate smoothly with the government.
Mr Suranand noted that people in Bangkok preferred realistic policies to vote campaigns that focused only on introducing candidates.
Ms Yingluck yesterday chaired a two-hour meeting with Pheu Thai ministers and key figures to review the party's governor election campaign strategy.
A party source inside the meeting said the premier instructed the party's ministers to adopt the door-to-door strategy to deliver the policies directly to the voters.
Pol Gen Pongsapat yesterday denied Ms Yingluck was upset with his vote campaign. He said she was still giving him moral support and continuing to ask about his progress. He also said that he was ready to adjust his policies to meet the demands of people in Bangkok. Next Wednesday he will announce his ideas to solve the capital's traffic woes.
Pol Gen Pongsapat has proposed various policies which some have queried if a Bangkok governor has the authority to accomplish. These schemes include free rides on all non-air-conditioned public buses, free rides on passenger boats on Khlong Saen Saep and increasing the monthly elderly living allowance to 1,200 baht per person.
Currently, the government provides a monthly allowance for the elderly of 500-1,000 baht depending on age.
Pol Gen Pongsapat said he had many experienced figures as his policy advisers including former national police chief Pol Gen Priewpan Damapong, former MP Pavena Hongsakula, former deputy education minister Sirikorn Maneerin and former deputy government spokesperson Nahathai Thiewpaingarm, but he had not formed his team of potential deputy Bangkok governors yet.
Meanwhile, Ong-art Klampaibul, campaign director of the Democrat Party, said Democrat candidate MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra would announce his campaign policies next week.
MR Sukhumbhand will present plans to resolve traffic jams by extending Bangkok electric railways on five routes, building underpasses at 100 railway crossings and intersections and linking all modes of public transit.
For flood prevention and drainage, the Democrat contender plans to increase the combined capacity of water retention areas in Bangkok to 407 billion cubic metres and extend embankments to a distance of 77km along the Chao Phraya.
During his vote campaign in Thung Khru district yesterday, MR Sukhumbhand said he would have 27,000 new surveillance cameras installed in communities and connect the CCTV network of the BMA to about 200,000 surveillance cameras of the private sector to boost public safety.
MR Sukhumbhand and the Democrat's key figures yesterday held a campaign speech at Kosum Ruamjai market in Don Muang district - a political stronghold of the Pheu Thai Party. Several hundreds people showed up without any interruption from government's red-shirt supporters.
Meanwhile, the Bangkok Election Commission disqualified candidate number 14, Pratheep Watcharachokkasem, from the Bangkok governor election because he did not vote in the general election in 2011.
Bangkok Election Commission chairman Pol Lt Gen Thaweesak Tuchinda said Mr Pratheep's failure to vote was uncovered during the examination of candidates' qualifications.
However, Mr Pratheep insisted he had voted in all elections so he could file an objection with the commission. He has until Feb 4, the chairman said.
There are now 24 candidates competing for the job of Bangkok governor, with the election set for March 3.
Candidates for the Bangkok governor gather for a group handshake at the Thai-Japanese Youth Centre in Din Daeng district on Friday. Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill.
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