Bihar Assembly Election 2020: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday stirred controversy as it released its poll manifesto for Bihar Assembly election 2020 and assured the 7.20 people in the state free vaccination for coronavirus for each and every person if the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) comes back to power. Also Read - Hyderabad Will be Free of 'Nizam Culture', Promises Amit Shah if BJP Voted to Power

The announcement, made by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman after the BJP released its manifesto, was heavily criticised by the opposition parties who questioned the saffron party for using health for politics. Also Read - How Chirag Reacted After BJP Nominated Sushil Modi For Rajya Sabha Seat Won by His Father Ram Vilas Paswan

Prominent leaders from the Congress, RJD, AAP along with other parties reacted sharply to BJP’s decision which, they condemned, goes against the Election Commission’s guidelines. Also Read - Karnataka to Get New CM? State BJP Chief Clears Air

Will other states not get COVID-19 vaccination?

The saffron party’s first promise on the manifesto list goes against the mode of conduct issued by the Election Commission of India which clearly prohibits the government from announcing new policies and initiatives after the election process begins.

“As soon as the COVID 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 asserted.

This raised eyebrows from several non-BJP run states who questioned whether the party was using COVID vaccine as a tactic solely to draw more voters.

However, Union Minister Ashwini Chaubey clarified that the government is making an elaborate plan on how to distribute the vaccine once available and “every state will be given a free coronavirus vaccine”.

‘Hoard of False Promises’

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi was among the first to take a dig at the Centre. “The Government of India has announced India’s Covid access strategy. Kindly refer to the state-wise election schedule to know when will you get it, along with a hoard of false promises,” he tweeted.

Subsequently, his colleague and Rajya Sabha member Shashi Tharoor mocked the saffron party saying, “Tum mujhe vote do, main tumhe vaccine… what appalling cynicism! Will the Election Commission rap her and her shameless government on the knuckles?”

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.

Meanwhile, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah lambasted the BJP for “shamefully exploiting coronavirus fears” by selling free vaccine dreams to one state.

A Day Ahead of PM’s Rally

The ‘poll sop’ also came a day ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching his campaign by addressing a rally at Dehri in Rohtas district. This will be followed by a second rally at Gaya’s historic Gandhi Maidan venue and the third at Bhagalpur.

PM Modi will go head to head with former Congress president Rahul Gandhi adding further heft and heat to the proceedings from Friday. Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to address two election rallies and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav is likely to accompany him at Hisua.