The discrepancy between different opinion polls, studies and reputable political punditry that has talked up Bhumjaithai’s prospects of becoming Thailand’s second-largest party while a major opinion poll consistently shows the party struggling with marginal levels of support is one of the great conundrums of this General Election and an unknown for which we will finally have answers on May 14th next.
Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and leader of the Bhumjaithai Party, on Monday, suggested he may resign from politics if his party only polls at the 3% to 3.75% level as indicated on Sunday in a nationwide NIDA opinion poll. The Minister of Public Health in the current government who is controversially credited with legalising marijuana in the kingdom by ministerial fiat, in June 2022, told reporters that the poll that mattered to him was in his head. ‘I believe myself,’ he said as he singled out the party’s 400 candidates nationwide for praise and dismissed the anti-Bhumjaithai Party campaign of activist Chuwit Kamolvisit who is currently touring Thailand in opposition to the coalition government party and its cannabis policy.
Bhumjaithai Party leader Anutin Charnvirakul, on Monday, told reporters that if the opinion poll published on Sunday showing his party at 3% to 3.75% proved to be correct after the May 14th General Election, returning something like 12 MPs to parliament then he will no longer be the leader of the party and suggested he would consider halting his involvement in politics altogether.
However, the deputy prime minister in the government of General Prayut Chan ocha since 2019, first told reporters that he had his own opinion poll in his head and that he would let that be his guide in the run-up to the General Election.
‘No poll can compete with my poll’ said Anutin who ultimately believes himself in the General Election
‘No poll can compete with my poll. I am the leader of the Bhumjaithai Party, so I did my own poll. Do you believe that it’s the most accurate? Like last time, I expected to get 52 MPs, but only 51 people came in. Like when I was younger again, I thought that I would get 22 MPs, and 22 people came in. I believe myself,’ he told reporters.
Anutin quickly qualified his statement by saying that, at the same time, he had to give due regard to other opinions on the matter but, at the end of the day, it was only the vote of the people that counted.
He said that while he was confident of the popularity of the Bhumjaithai Party, he didn’t overlook that there were others who did not agree with it.
Deputy Prime Minister did not indicate a number of seats but backed political pundits who have predicted his party will be a kingmaker after May 14th
Although not predicting the number of seats the party would deliver after May 14th, he indicated it was in line with some political scientists who have suggested that the Bhumjaithai Party will be a kingmaker after the next General Election and could even come home in second place with over 100 MPs.
The disparity between the definite and authoritative National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) opinion polls which have consistently pointed to lower or marginal support for the Bhumjaithai Party and other surveys as well as the opinion of political commentators trotted out in media circles predicting a breakthrough for the Bhumjaithai Party, currently mired in controversy over its role in government and its approach to the legalisation of cannabis or marijuana, is one of the great conundrums of this General Election.
Not worried by the anti-Bhumjaithai Party campaign launched by activist Chuwit Kamolvisit, neither were the 400 Bhumjaithai candidates across Thailand
On Monday, Anutin also made it clear that his party was not concerned about the anti-Bhumjaithai campaign launched by activist Chuwit Kamolvisit who is targeting the ‘Mad Marijuana Party’ for its campaign policy which led to the legalisation of cannabis, in a nationwide tour which began last Friday.
The minister said that Bhumjaithai, which has 400 election candidates running in constituencies around Thailand and none of them is concerned about Mr Chuwit’s antics as they garnered public support for the party in this General Election.
He said that the Bhumjaithai Party’s strength was of each of the party’s candidates in each particular area of the country.
Anutin insisted that each Bhumjaithai Party candidate knew his or her area well and would not be sidetracked by Mr Chuwit’s rhetoric on the party’s cannabis policy.