BANGKOK — Politicians aren’t taking Makha Bucha Day off. It’s election season, and that means continued campaigning – but with Buddhist traditions.
Tuesday is Makha Bucha, a national holiday that marks Buddha passing on his teachings to 1,250 of his followers. Here is how some of the parties nationwide are working through the holiday.
Pheu Thai Party
While campaigning in Ubol Ratchathani on Makha Bucha, Pheu Thai PM candidate Sudarat Keyuraphan said to market vendors that she wished their businesses well.
“Endure a little more with the suffering you experienced the past few years. If Pheu Thai Party gets elected, we can fix these problems,” Sudarat said.
Chadchart Sittipunt, another Pheu Thai prime minister candidate and Panthongtae Shinawatra, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s son, were also campaigning in Ubol Ratchathani. Chadchart, Panthongtae and Sudarat made merit to monks in the market to mark the special occasion.
“Do good. Avoid evil. Make your heart pure, on this Makha Bucha Day,” Democrat Party candidate Abhisit “Mark” Vejjajiva posted on Facebook, along with a photo of him wai-ing at a monk Tuesday morning.
Along with other Democrat Party members Ong-Art Klampaiboon and Jermmas Junglertsiri, Abhisit made merit at about 7am at Wat Benchamabophit, or the Marble Temple, in Bangkok’s Dusit district.
Asked by reporters if he wished for anything, Abhisit said he didn’t “ask for anything in particular” but was just doing his duty as a Buddhist. Abhisit and his party members then went to campaign to early risers exercising in the Suan Romaneenaak park and Talad Trok Moh Market. The prime minister candidate even fried pork at a stall before making another round of merit at Wat Rakang Kositaram across the river in Bangkok Noi area.
Phalang Pracharat Party
While planting a sacred Bodhi tree Monday that arrived from Sri Lanka at Wat Wachira Thamma Ram in Ayutthaya province, junta leader and premier candidate Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha blessed Buddhist citizens.
“On this Makha Bucha Day, may everyone follow the virtues, mercy and purity of Lord Buddha in living out their lives, being good people in Thai society and the world,” Prayuth said.
He denied he was campaigning during his trip.
“It’s Makha Bucha Day…I had to do the planting ritual here today, so I took the opportunity for an excursion too. I’m not doing it for anything else, understand? We all know it. We all love each other,” he said. “Since elections are coming, let’s campaign in a good way. Stop attacking each other. It damages the country. No one else does this, so stop pillorying ourselves.”
Future Forward Party
A call to spokeswoman Pannika Wanich revealed that Future Forward party does not have any activities specifically planned marking Makha Bucha Day, as she said party members had existing activities and interviews lined up.