New Delhi: A poll promise made by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bihar election is gaining popularity among other state governments too. Following the step, after Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh too offered free vaccine for the coronavirus disease to its people.Also Read - After Cities, Omicron COVID Cases Likely To Go Up In Villages: Experts
Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami said on Thursday that once a vaccine for Covid-19 is developed, all people in Tamil Nadu will be immunised free of cost. Also Read - Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu Tests COVID Positive For Second Time
“I would like to announce that as soon as the vaccine is developed (and made available to states) all people in Tamil Nadu will be immunised and the government shall bear the cost,” he said in Pudukottai during an official visit. Elections are due in Tamil Nadu next year. Also Read - Are Cloth Masks Really Helpful? Health Experts Answer
Soon after, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that his government will also provide the COVID-19 vaccine to poor people of the state and the cost will be borne by the BJP government.
“The day COVID-19 vaccine trial began in the country, the poor people started discussing if they will be able to bear the cost. Today, I want to clarify that every poor person will get free Covid-19 vaccine. We will win this battle,” Chouhan said in a Twitter post.
However, the BJP’s announcement received flak from the opposition with many leaders questioning if free vaccine is meant only for Bihar. “Free vaccine only in Bihar? It’s ridiculous! Does the whole country not pay taxes or are they not equal citizens of India? It’s the GoI’s duty to vaccinate the entire country. Using this life saving vaccine as a tool for votes is totally unethical,” SAD leader Harsimrat Kaur Badal tweeted.
The BJP, meanwhile, clarified that vaccine will be provided to all the people in the country at nominal costs. “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 general secretary and Bihar in-charge Bhupendra Yadav said on Twitter in response to a tweet from Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who took a jibe at the BJP’s announcement.
Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who unveiled the BJP poll manifesto in Bihar on Thursday, said: “As soon as a COVID-19 vaccine is available for production at a mass scale, every person in Bihar will get free vaccination”. It was the “first promise” mentioned in the manifesto, the minister said.
Presently, Covid-19 vaccines are in various stages of trials.