Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra denied that she sought publicity or had any hidden agenda for her visit of farmers in Ubon Ratchathani on Thursday and for buying some milled rice from the farmers for distribution to members of her entourage.
As a private citizen, she said that she had sympathy for farmers for their suffering from the low price of paddy and her visit of farmers was not politically motivated. She said she was moved by the warm welcome given her by the farmers despite the fact that they are suffering with several of them may not have rice to eat.
The former prime minister said that the government's measure to grant credits to farmers so that they can delay the sale of their crops and keep them in barns was not different from her government's rice pledging scheme which was meant to help the farmers regardless of loss from the scheme.
She further said that her visit of the farmers made her understand the plight of the farmers. On top of the low rice price, she noted that many farmers are in heavy debts, forcing them to sell their crops despite the loss.
Ms Yingluck pleaded with all parties concerned to come to the rescue of rice farmers. She also urged the government to look at the rice problem in a big picture, reminding that more rice crops will be harvested and flood the market in the foreseeable future.
Responding to deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan's cynical comment that she should buy rice from all farmers not just from some farmers in Ubon Ratchathani, the ex-premier said if her party was in the government, she would have done that as suggested by General Prawit.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)