The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday released the manifesto for Bihar assembly polls in which it promised to provide free COVID-19 vaccine to every person in Bihar if the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) returns to power in the state. Alluring the youth of Bihar, the BJP-JDU (Janata Dal United) alliance has also promised 19 lakh jobs in the next five years and farmers with the assurance of bringing lentils under the minimum support price (MSP) regime.
This happens to be the first time when a political party has promised free COVID-19 vaccination in its poll manifesto. The announcement has created a political debate as the opposition parties slammed the BJP for using the pandemic for political discourse.
"The NDA government in Bihar has set an example in the fight against coronavirus pandemic. It is our resolve that as soon as the vaccine is available after it passes through the provisions of ICMR, every citizen of Bihar will be provided the vaccine free of cost," the BJP manifesto said.
The manifesto was released in the presence of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and other BJP leaders in Patna, a day ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi election campaign in the state. In the manifesto, the BJP has made 11 big resolutions with a slogan '5 SUTRA, EK LAKSHYA, 11 SANKALP'. The highlights of the party's vision document include the promise of free of cost vaccination for the coronavirus and recruitment of three lakh teachers in primary, secondary and higher educational institutions. It has also proposed to develop the state, which has so far remained largely untouched by the boom in information technology, into an IT hub holding out the promise of five lakh jobs in the sector.
The manifesto also said a large number of people will be provided employment in the health sector which is in for a major facelift through projects like the AIIMS at Darbhanga.
"It is our resolve that 10,000 doctors, 50,000 paramedic and 1 lakh people to get employment in the health infrastructure of the state. The state government will also ensure that the AIIMS being setup in Darbhanga would start functioning by 2024," Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi said in a tweet.
Other attractive promises include self-reliance for one crore women through micro finance, pucca houses for 30 lakh people, and a boost to fisheries making Bihar number one in the sector.
It also promised a fresh impetus to the dairy sector with setting up of 15 milk processing units.
Voting for Bihar assembly elections will be held in three phases -- first on October 28, second on November 3 and the third on November 7 -- while counting of all votes will take place on November 10.
With PTI inputs