The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released its manifesto for Bihar election 2020 promising free coronavirus vaccine and an assurance of 19 lakh jobs over the next five years if elected in the upcoming elections.
The manifesto, titled 'Paanch sutra, ek lakshya, 11 sankalp' was released by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Patna. BJP in its 'Sankalp Patra' has promised to provide free COVID-19 vaccination for all the people in Bihar once ICMR approves a vaccine.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, "As soon as a coronavirus vaccine will be available for production at a mass scale, every person in Bihar will get free vaccination. This is the first promise mentioned in our poll manifesto."
This promise of providing vaccines to all raised eyebrows across nation and opposition started to question and take a dig at the BJP.
Corona ka teeka desh ka hai, BJP ka nahi: Reaction from the opposition
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) said that the BJP was using the disease for politics and "selling the fear of death".
In a tweet, RJD said, "Corona ka teeka desk ka hai, BJP ka nahi! Teeka ka rajnitik istemaal dikhata hai ki inke paas bimaari aur maut ka bhaye bechane ke alawa koie vikalp nahi hai. Bihari swabhimaani hain, chand paison mein apne baccho ka bhavishya nahi bechate."
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said, "BJP doesn't have a face for Bihar polls. Finance Minister had to come to release the vision document. Since she's here, Sitharaman Ji should first tell why she never gave a special package and special state status to Bihar."
Shashi Tharoor also took to Twitter and said, "तुम मुझे वोट दो मैं तुम्हे वैक्सीन .... what appalling cynicism! Will the ElectionCommission rap her & her shameless Govt on the knuckles?"
Omar Abdullah, former J&K Chief Minister and National Conference leader also reacted, "Will @BJP4India be paying for these vaccines from the party treasury? If it's coming from the government treasury then how can Bihar get free vaccines while the rest of the country has to pay? There is so much wrong with this blatant populism that shamefully exploits COVID fears."
It's state govt's decision, simple: BJP defends manifesto
Amit Malviya, in-charge of BJP's national Information and Technology, later clarified and said it was the Bihar BJP which has decided to give coronavirus vaccine for free, he said.
"BJP's manifesto promises free Covid vaccine. Like all programs, center will provide vaccines to states at a nominal rate. It is for the state Govts to decide if they want to give it free or otherwise. Health being a state subject, Bihar BJP has decided to give it free. Simple," Amit Malviya tweeted.
The BJP is contesting the Bihar polls as part of the National Democratic Alliance, along with the Janata Dal (United) and other parties. Bihar goes to polls on October 28, November 03 and 07. Counting of votes will take place on November 10.