BETWEEN THE LINES
Newin is missed in war room
By piyanart@nationgroup.com

Thanks to the current political turmoil, 111 banned members of the defunct Thai Rak Thai (TRT) have found an opportunity to return to the political stage. A few weeks ago they set up their war room in Shinawatra 3 Building.

They meet twice a week to analyse the political situation to enable the Somchai Wongsawat government cope with the turmoil. They reportedly play a vital role in giving directions to the PM. If events go bad, they are ready to hold urgent meetings.

The war room brings together all the 111 banned TRT members, together with key men from the People Power Party. Together, they form a grouping powerful enough to decide the fate of the government. All the government's enemies are scrutinised thoroughly.

A study of the names of all key members reveals they belong to the party royalty, with direct links to the man in London. Yaowapa, wife of the prime minister and Thaksin Shinawatra's sister, chairs the group.

Key banned politicians like Sudarat Keyuraphan, Yongyuth Tiyapairat, Warathep Rattanakorn, Pongthep Thepkanchana, and Chaturon Chaisaeng share the stage. Government spokesman Natthawut Saikua and Chatuporn Promphan - leaders of the Democratic Alliance Against Dictatorship (DAAD) - are ready to mobilise supporters and counter-attack opponents every time they are needed. PM's Office Minister Supon Fongngam, who oversees the Public Relations Department, regularly attends the meetings.

However, there is one key man missing. No one has seen Newin Chidchob join the club since Somchai took office. In the current situation, many think they need assistance from Newin.

"Our mission would not be accomplished without Newin. To fight the enemy, we need an eye for an eye policy. The men who can do that are Newin and Yongyuth. We need Newin," a key club member, who asked not to be named, said.

Yaowapa has agreed with the suggestion and promised to talk to Newin and seek his help.

While the temperature in the war room, chaired by Yaowapa, is heating up, her husband is sending contradictory signals. This has surprised the key men. Many are wondering what Somchai really wanted.

"As of now we don't know the real policy. He keeps talking about enhancing reconciliation," another key man said.

For example, they are not sure what Somchai thinks of extending the contract of the "Truth of Today" programme on NBT channel. The contract will end this month.

"If we raise this issue in the war room, surely the hosts of the programme Natthawut and Chatuporn will want to continue the programme. So we may have to ask the PM directly what he really wants. If he really needs reconciliation the contract would have to end," he said.

The end of this story could prove whether the PM is afraid of his wife.