‘Perfectly in Order’: FM Sitharaman on Free COVID Vaccine Promise
“A party can announce what it wants to do when it comes to power,” Nirmala Sitharaman said on Saturday.
The free COVID-19 vaccine promise in the Bihar poll manifesto is perfectly in order, BJP leader and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Saturday, 24 October, adding that a party can announce what it wants to do when it comes to power.
Sitharaman’s remark comes two days after her announcement on the BJP manifesto for the Bihar elections, which has promised to provide free COVID-19 vaccination for all the people in Bihar once a vaccine is approved.
Ahead of the three-phased Bihar Assembly elections, Sitharaman on Thursday had stated that "as soon as the coronavirus vaccine will be 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," she had said.
Defending the announcement on Saturday, Sitharaman was quoted as saying, "It is a manifesto announcement. A party can announce what it wants to do when it comes to power. That is exactly what is announced. Health is a state subject. It is perfectly in order."
The BJP’s manifesto promise on free coronavirus vaccination had provoked a sharp reaction, with opposition political parties and their leaders calling out “appalling cynicism” and “blatant populism”.
Among those who criticised the saffron party were Congress’ Rahul Gandhi and Shashi Tharoor, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
The state of Bihar will go to polls on 28 October, 3 and 7 November, with the counting of votes to take place on 10 November.
The ruling coalition of the BJP and Nitish Kumar's JD(U) is pitted against the Mahagathbandhan of RJD and Congress. Chirag Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), which is fighting against the JD(U) but siding with the BJP, is also in the fray.
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