PM Prayuth’s Udon Visit Debacle Reveals Weakness

PM Prayuth’s Udon Visit Debacle Reveals Weakness

PM Prayuth’s Udon Visit Debacle Reveals Weakness

The visit to Udon by PM Prayuth Chan-o-cha was supposed to be a political victory for the Prime Minister.

 A successful bold move to a region which is the heartland of Isan and a stronghold of Pheu Thai party and the squashing of rumors of a crack between the Prime Minister and General Prawit would have gone a long way to cement the strategy of keeping PM Prayuth in power for his full term and maybe beyond.

Initially, the optics of the visit looked good with a crowd of well-wishers coming to  welcome him and the Prime Minister looking relaxed and happy, bathing in the goodwill of the moment while he fawned over General Prawit, by his side.

However, the ideal scenario was shattered when an innocent looking 28 year old lady from Udon caught PM Prayuth’s attention and said “ I hope you bring in development to our region soon because its been 7 years and if you can’t, maybe you should retire and let someone else who can, come in and do the job”. The Prime Minister was stunned for a moment and then said “ Arai na” or “what?”. He looked pretty shaken.

It was revealed later that she had no political inclination but travelled 25 kms from her home on a bike with her two sisters to tell the Prime Minister about the hardships the people in their area was facing.

Later, a video came into limelight where it showed his close aides rehearsing with a group of people, who were recruited to be his well wishers, on what to chant and when to clap.

At the same time, images of protestors kept away from approaching the Prime Minister during the visit by guards and local authorities also surfaced and was shared widely. 

MPs from the government side and especially from Palang Pracharath have come out and made noises about taking action against the law officials in charge and the lady from Udon herself.
Firebrand Palang Pracharath party MP, Pareena Kraikupt has posted that the police force of Udon are responsible and such an incident would not have happened in her constituency.

This incident and the visit demonstrates PM Prayuth’s weakness in a nutshell.
He chooses to live in a “bubble’ that has been created by the people closest to him, shielding him from ground reality.

How will he ever know what the public actually think of him or for that matter what they actually need if all voices of differing opinions are silenced? 
Does he want to continue being Prime Minister of Lalaland created by his people or Thailand where real Thais live?
Because the Thailand that is, is a very different country from what the people closest to him want him to know. 

Historically, it’s been the fall of many leaders and even empires, when leaders choose to listen to and believe only a favorite few close to them. 

PM Prayuth is caught in a classic leadership trap, surrounded by people who wish to further their careers by only sharing good news with him, telling him what he wants to hear and shielding the ugly truth from him.

The Prime Minister needs to be brave and face criticism face on because if he can so he can correct himself, his policies and most importantly the problems that people have with him or the government’s policies.

Knowing what the problem is, is the first step to a solution and solving problems on time is a major step towards the longevity of his political career.

Written By - Patra Manas.