Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman releases a party's manifesto ahead of Bihar Assembly polls
BJP in its rally for Bihar assembly elections promised "free vaccines for all" has sparked debates and allegations of "blatant populism" in the name of elections.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today, announcing the BJP's manifesto for the Bihar election, promised free distribution of Covid-19 vaccines as soon as they are certified by the ICMR.
Later, Tamil Nadu government also announced free vaccines for the state ahead of the elections next year.
Opposition leaders took exception to the promise and raised questions over the use of vaccines to further political agenda. Others raised doubts if states which are not poll-bound will receive the same treatment or not.
Rahul Gandhi asked the people to refer to the state assembly polls schedules to know the arrival of vaccines in their state.
Arvind Kejriwal's AAP questioned whether the non-BJP states didn't deserve free vaccines or not.
The clarification by the BJP seemed wavered. Union Minister of State for Health Ashwini Chaubey said the states will get free vaccines under an elaborate distribution plan.
While for hours, the only response to the flak against the manifesto was given by the party’s Information Technology cell head Amit Malviya. He stated that the Centre will provide vaccines to the states at “nominal rates” and it would be up to respective state governments whether to give them for free or not.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah called it “blatant populism”.
A spokesperson of the congress party of using the promise as an "election lollypop"
Journalists also cleared their hands by thrusting questions regarding the government's vaccine distribution plan.
India along with several other countries is working towards development of a sustainable remedial plan regarding vaccines amid global pandemic. But this is the first time that a vaccine, especially one that is work in progress, is an election promise.