On Thursday, BJP 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.”
Here are BJP’s poll promises:
1. Free Covid-19 vaccination for all in Bihar, if ICMR approves
2. 19 lakh job opportunities for Bihar youths
3. Another 10 lakh jobs by turning Bihar into an IT hub.
4. Creating jobs in the health sector.
5. House for 30 lakh people
6. Technical education (Medical, engineering) in Hindi
7. Boost in agriculture production which will create 10 lakh employment opportunities.
8. Focus on Bihar’s fish production
9. Boost to dairy production
10. Appointment of three lakh new teachers
11. Pulses will also be purchased at the fixed MSP rates like wheat and paddy.
Though, the Manifesto included so much but all the eyes and ears are stuck to free vaccine.
With this, Social media is overwhelmed with several criticisms from opposition that using the pandemic for own favor is immensely immoral. 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, the 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 is a state subject, Bihar BJP has decided to give it free,” he said.
Praising the political awareness of the Bihar people, Nirmala Sitharaman said, “Bihar is a state where people are politically sensitive and well-informed. If anyone raises questions on our manifesto, we can respond. We fulfill what we promise.”
“People from Bihar are getting employed in every state of the country due to their skills. There’s a lot of growth potential for all. This has been possible as Bihar government had implemented its previous promises with confidence,” Sitharaman said.
She added that GDP has seen a sharp rise in Bihar under NDA rule, after the years of “Jungle Raj” under the RJD rule.
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.
The Finance Minister did not take any questions at the presser.