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Bihar Assembly elections | BJP manifesto promises free vaccine for Bihar

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman releasing the BJP’s manifesto for the Bihar Assembly polls, in Patna on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020.   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday released its manifesto for the Assembly polls in Bihar with the first promise in it being free distribution of vaccine against COVID-19 once it is approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman who released the manifesto in Patna said, “As soon as COVID-19 vaccine is available for production on a mass scale, every person in Bihar will get free vaccination. This is the first promise mentioned in our poll manifesto.”

 

The announcement led to a storm of criticism of the BJP over social media by opposition leaders who felt that promising free vaccines as an election promise during a pandemic was morally questionable. At this, senior BJP leader Bhupendra Yadav clarified over Twitter. Responding to Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, Mr Yadav tweeted: “Your attempt to twist Smt Nirmala Sitharaman’s statement reeks of desperation. All parties issue manifestos. Vaccines will be made available to all Indians at nominal costs. States can make it free. In Bihar, we will”.

BJP information technology cell chief Amit Malviya offered more clarifications. “Like all programmes, Centre will provide vaccines to states at a nominal rate. It is for state Governments to decide if they want to give it free or otherwise. Health being a state subject, Bihar BJP has decided to give it free,” he said.

The manifesto also promised 19 lakh jobs in the next five years, including the appointment of three lakh teachers within the next year in schools and higher education institutions and one lakh jobs in the health sector.

Bihar Assembly elections | BJP manifesto promises free vaccine for Bihar
 

Jobs has become a major issue in these elections with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejaswi Yadav promising that his first act, on being elected to power, would be to create 10 lakh jobs.

A promise to construct 30 lakh pucca houses for the poor was also made. Special emphasis would be given to the information technology sector, as well as the establishment of 13 food processing parks.

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Under the New Education Policy, engineering and other technical education will be made available in Hindi in the State. A minimum support price regime will be put in place for pulses too in the State.

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“Bihar is one State where all citizens are politically sensitive and well-informed. They know and understand the promises a party makes. If anyone raises questions on our manifesto, we can answer them with confidence as we fulfil what we promised,” Ms. Sitharaman said.

She added that GDP has seen a sharp rise in Bihar under NDA rule, after the years of “Jungle Raj” under RJD rule.

Ms. Sitharaman did not take any questions at the presser.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2020 7:51:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/bihar-assembly/bihar-assembly-elections-bjp-promises-free-covid-19-vaccine/article32916013.ece

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