Thailand's Puea Thai party rears its head again, after months of post-coup silence

A screenshot of a 2.14-minute animation clip, titled Ta Doo Dao, Thao Tid Din (Looking at Stars with Feet on the Ground), depicting former Thai prime minister Thaksin's life, a link to which was posted on Facebook and Instagram by Thaksin's son
A screenshot of a 2.14-minute animation clip, titled Ta Doo Dao, Thao Tid Din (Looking at Stars with Feet on the Ground), depicting former Thai prime minister Thaksin's life, a link to which was posted on Facebook and Instagram by Thaksin's son Panthongtae. -- PHOTO: SCREENSHOT FROM YOUTUBE TAKEN BY THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

BANGKOK (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - After months of silence, Puea Thai politicians and "red-shirt" leaders have been making public appearances in Thailand after getting the go-ahead from former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thailand's Puea Thai party chose to go silent after its government was overthrown in the May 22 coup, and its politicians and party leaders began maintaining a low profile where the media was concerned.

Many appeared to refrain from making any political comments, because those who did say something were either summoned or received warnings from the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the governing body of the coup-makers.

Thaksin, who is widely believed to be controlling Puea Thai from behind the scenes, obviously did not want any politician from his party to get in the NCPO's way for fear that he might be blamed for the junta's failure to attain its goals.

However, on Monday, Thaksin's son Panthongtae posted the following message on Facebook and Instagram: "In three days, he will be back."

This message left many wondering if Mr Panthongtae was referring to his father, and if he would indeed return to Thailand.

Thaksin fled the country in 2008, shortly before the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Political Office Holders sentenced him in absentia to two years in jail for abuse of power.

He has since lived in exile overseas.

On Tuesday, Mr Panthongtae again posted the message, "In two days and everyone will stop missing him", along with a YouTube link (youtube.com/thaksinstory).

The link leads to a 2.14-minute animation clip, titled Ta Doo Dao, Thao Tid Din (Looking at Stars with Feet on the Ground), depicting Thaksin's life.

The lyrics in the accompanying soundtrack say: "Looking at the stars with feet on the ground, this is Thaksin who always defies his fate."

The clip ends with the words "coming soon" in English.

The trailer says the entire film was available from Thursday, but does not say where one can find it.

The phrase "Ta Doo Dao, Thao Tid Din" is familiar to both supporters and detractors of Thaksin.

It was the title of Thaksin's popular biography, though plans of turning it into a television series had to be suspended after the anti-Thaksin movement went into full swing.

This animation seems to have been timed with Thaksin's recent comment, saying it was time for his political allies to resume their activities.

He recently met Puea Thai politicians and red-shirt leaders overseas and reportedly said: "We should wait until there is a new government before making political moves again."

Ms Yingluck, the former prime minister and Thaksin's younger sister, has started posting messages on Facebook again, as have leaders of the leaders of the red-shirt United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) and Puea Thai politicians, who are also making public appearances. Those back in the public eye include red-shirt leader Natthawut Saikua and party spokesman Prompong Nopparit.

Red-shirt leaders in the provinces also seem to be meeting frequently to exchange political views, though some hardline red shirts are being closely watched by the NCPO.

It seems like Thaksin, Puea Thai and the UDD are trying to reclaim their space in the political arena, and it would be interesting to see if they succeed and what the NCPO will do in response.