BJP Promises Free Covid Vaccine in Manifesto for Bihar Polls; Draws Criticism from Opposition

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Union Finance Minister and BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman addresses a press conference after releasing the party’s election manifesto ahead of Bihar Assembly polls, in Patna on Oct 22, 2020. — IANS

Manoj Jha, RJD MP, said “people of the entire country will have equal rights. We are one nation. Coronavirus is a challenge to humanity. But BJP has mentioned just one state in its manifesto.”

PATNA — With just six days left for polling for the first phase in the three-phase Bihar Assembly elections, the BJP on Thursday released its election manifesto or ‘Sankalp Patra’, making a slew of promises.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman released the manifesto at a function held in Patna. Speaking on the occasion, Sitharaman said that Bihar’s development is essential for the nation’s progress and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) needs to win this elections for the development of the state.

The highlight of the BJP’s ‘Sankalp Patra’ is the promise of “free coronavirus vaccination for all” in Bihar.

“As soon as a Covid-19 vaccine is 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,” Sitharaman said.

The party also promised to create as many as 19 lakh jobs for the youth of Bihar.

The saffron party has evolved a five-point formula for the development of the state, which includes a healthy society, self-dependent Bihar, educated Bihar, strong industry and strong agriculture with financially sound farmers and healthy rural-urban development.

The party has given a roadmap for the next five years to address 11 promises that include enhancing the current size of the budget, raising the state’s GDP, pushing up the agricultural growth rate, per capita income, availability of electricity, roads etc.

Speaking after the release of the manifesto, BJP national President J.P. Nadda said: “People often ask me what is ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’? I want to tell them that the Centre has launched a ‘Make In India’ programme to promote domestic manufacturing. The idea of Make In India is to make the country self-reliant. And the same applies for Bihar.”

RJD slams BJP poll promise

A promise of a free coronavirus vaccine for the people of Bihar in the election manifesto of the BJP has provoked criticism from the opposition in the state.

Manoj Jha, RJD MP and Rajya Sabha member, pointed out that coronavirus is a worldwide pandemic and it needs a collective effort from all sections to defeat it.

“BJP is the first party in the world which announces distribution of free corona vaccines to one state. Vaccines will be discovered by pharmaceutical companies under the guidance of ICMR but the Modi government wants to take credit for it,” Jha said, mocking the BJP’s claim.

“What kind of mindset do they have and who is their advisor? It is extremely shameful to take credit for it,” he said.

“Suppose a vaccine is discovered in India and I have great faith in our scientists working in the medical field. I want to say people of the entire country will have equal rights. We are one nation. Coronavirus is a challenge to humanity. But BJP has mentioned just one state in its manifesto,” Jha said.

“BJP in its manifesto is boasting that it would create 19 lakh jobs if it comes to power. We have a clear vision and our leader has already said that 10 lakh jobs will be given in first Cabinet meeting. There are no ifs and buts in it. On the other hand, BJP is not giving any surety. BJP leaders and their manifesto only indicates uncertainty for people of Bihar,” Jha said.

The promise of 10 lakh jobs by RJD has rattled the JD-U and BJP. Hence, many leaders including Nitish Kumar and Sushil Modi questioned RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav. They claim that it is not realistic and just a poll gimmick to gain votes.

Jha pointed out that every department of the state government has adequate funds which the Nitish Kumar government has not utilised.

“I believe they do not have any vision. We will use those funds to pay the salaries of employees,” he added. — IANS

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