I sell the truth, not dreams: Sukhumbhand
The Democrat Party's Bangkok governor candidate MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra was emotional and lost his temper during a speech on Friday evening.But it seems the question that pricked him - whether he would have left the party and run as an independent candidate if the party had not picked him - was not the only pain in his neck.
"I wish I didn't have to answer questions about (opinion) polls every day," he repeated in an exclusive interview with The Nation, saying he would rather highlight his achievements in the past and his knowledge of the job and experience. He knew the city's needs and what was possible for a Bangkok governor.
"I have served the position for four years. If I still promote policies that cannot be done or are outside a Bangkok governor's mandate, where can I hide my face (with embarrassment)? The only thing I can do is sell the truth, not dreams," he said.
Opinion polls over the past few weeks suggest his popularity is second to Pol General Pongsapat Pongcharoen from the Pheu Thai Party.
Sukhumbhand said he did not pay much attention to survey results and questioned the credibility of them. He repeated many times that he did not want to comment about poll results.
He was not looking at other candidates - only competing with himself. If polls had suggested that he was leading, they may make him less competitive due to carelessness.
He was not as worried as he had been four years ago, he said, when opinion polls before the election suggested he would win.
The former Bangkok governor said he evaluated feedback from people's eyes and gestures during his election campaign. The feedback was good and was not different from when he first ran for the post four years ago. He has yet to see if this positive response will be replicated in the form of votes for him on March 3.
On the question of why he had not implemented many policies he promoted during his first term, Sukhumbhand said it took time to study and prepare them.
"Something I wanted to do, such as a rail-based mass transit system, is not instant. First, it needs study on how to design the routes and second, it needs a study of the market's demand. Sometimes that can take up to two years. Now I have a conclusion for one route from Bang Na BTS station to Suvarnabhumi Airport," he said.
Moreover, he said that during the first term, he spent a lot of time implementing policies promoted by his predecessor, Apirak Kosayodhin and the Democrat Party. They included the 10,000 closed-circuit cameras' project under which 24,000 CCTV had been installed during his term.
"This time I will [concentrate on] my own policies," he said.
While Pongsapat promotes 'seamless' cooperation with the central government, Sukhumbhand said he had no problem working with government officials under a Pheu Thai administration. Local and central governments should share and discuss ideas on particular issues, and the incumbent government of Yingluck Shinawatra agreed with his proposals to solve and prevent flood problems in Bangkok.
The measures included preparing places in Ayutthaya and Nonthaburi to hold floodwater and delay it before reaching Bangkok, constructing walls along Rangsit Canal 4-metres above average sea level, improving Chulalongkorn Water Gate and other water gates, he said.
He said it was not reported in the news when his Bangkok government went along well with the central government - there was only news if they had a conflict.
Sukhumbhand opposed Democrats who during the 2011 election campaign cited the 2010 political turmoil during the red-shirts' rally to attack their opponents. He only spoke on policies that were about good issues and he did not acknowledge ideas of other Democrats and his supporters.
"Political attacks are normal. I have been in politics for more than 10 years, so I understand. At this moment, my former position is really attractive. Many parties want it. That's fine. I myself want it (the position), so how can I blame others (for longing for the post)," he said laughing.