Ex-PM Thaksin a Saintly Figure in Rural Thailand

Ex-PM Thaksin a Saintly Figure in Rural Thailand – AP, December 7, 2013
…“Ten years ago, the road you drove on to get here was dirt. There was no electricity, there was no irrigation,” said Pichai Poltaklang, a retired primary schoolteacher and local organizer for Thaksin’s political movement, commonly known as the “Red Shirts.” He ticks off government programs: the virtually free health care, the low-cost education loans, the old-age pension. “Before Thaksin came to power we were left out.”
…If no one here is calling for bloodshed, a quiet threat is always implicit. Occasionally, it’s explicit.
“Across the northeast we can seize every government office in every town, in every city, in every province,” said Thongplean Boonphunga, a middle-aged rice farmer. The elite may deride Thaksin’s followers as uneducated bumpkins, but, she notes, the country people have numbers on their side.
“They can’t control the whole country. We can,” he said…

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