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Former IPS officer Annamalai Kuppusamy said that he will join BJP today at party headquarters in Delhi. (Hindustan Times)
Former IPS officer Annamalai Kuppusamy said that he will join BJP today at party headquarters in Delhi. (Hindustan Times)

Bihar Polls: BJP promises free covid vaccine if NDA returns to power

  • The announcement of BJP could trigger a political debate as the opposition parties feel that the pandemic should not be used for political and electoral purposes

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has promised free covid-19 vaccine to every person in Bihar if the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) returns to power in the state for the fourth consecutive term under the leadership of chief minister Nitish Kumar. The manifesto of the party was released on Thursday.

This is the first time that a political party has promised free vaccination in an election manifesto. The announcement of BJP could trigger a political debate as the opposition parties feel that the pandemic should not be used for political and electoral purposes.

“The NDA government in Bihar has set an example in the fight against coronavirus pandemic. It is our resolve that as soon as the vaccine is available after it passes through the provisions of ICMR, every citizen of Bihar will be provided the vaccine free of cost," the manifesto released by the BJP on Thursday said.

The manifesto was released a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi starts his election campaign in the state. He is scheduled to hold public meetings in Sasaram, Gaya and Bhagalpur on Friday. Modi is scheduled to hold at least 12 public meetings in the state ahead of the elections.

The BJP-JDU (Janata Dal United) alliance in Bihar has also promised that the state government would ensure that all the 6 crore poor would get the benefit of Ayushman Bharat programme and the state government would ensure that the financially weaker section of society would be able to avail 5 lakh benefit under the central scheme.

“It is our resolve that 10,000 doctors, 50,000 paramedic and 1 lakh people to get employment in the health infrastructure of the state. The state government will also ensure that the AIIMS being setup in Darbhanga would start functioning by 2024," tweeted Sushil Kumar Modi, deputy chief minister of Bihar.

Opposition parties have questioned the announcement and also decided to reach out to the Election Commission of India to take note of the poll promise.

“Free Covid vaccine is a right of every citizen of my country. Surprised to see this being pitched as a poll promise by BJP in Bihar. The @ECISVEEP must take suo moto cognisance as the Modi Govt can't be selective about free access to Covid Vaccine depending on electoral results," TS Singh Deo, senior leader of Congress tweeted.

The BJP manifesto also promises to generate 10 lakh job opportunities in the state by creating a supply chain for crops like maize, paan, honey and crops with medicinal benefits.

“PM Modi has focussed and often talked about the importance of fisheries in increasing the income of farmers and agricultural sector. We resolve to make Bihar the number one state in the country in fisheries and production of fish," tweeted Sushil Kumar Modi.

“We have resolve that after rice and wheat, we will also provide and procure minimum support price (MSP) for pulses in the state. This would help the farmers and also improve rural economy. It is the commitment of BJP to strengthen farmers and rural economy," he added in another tweet.

BJP has also promised to make Bihar the next hub of information technology and create at least 5 lakh jobs in the next five years. “We will hire at least 3.5 lakh teachers for all the schools, colleges and universities in Bihar and it has been decided that 3 lakh appointments would be completed in first year of the new government," the manifesto said adding it would ensure there would be option for students pursuing higher studies to study in Hindi.


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