Bihar assembly election 2020: BJP’s promise of free vaccine not a violation of election code, says EC
Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who released BJP’s 11-point Sankalp Patra (document of pledges) for the elections in Patna last week, said as soon as Covid-19 vaccine is available, every person in Bihar will get free vaccination.Updated: Nov 01, 2020, 03:01 IST
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s promise of free Covid-19 vaccines for Bihar in its manifesto for the ongoing assembly elections in the state does not violate the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), or the poll body’s guidelines for political parties and candidates during elections, the Election Commission (EC) has said.
In its response dated October 28 to a representation by activist Saket Gokhale, the EC has cited the MCC provisions that say manifestos “should not contain anything repugnant to the Constitution; should avoid making promises that vitiate the purity of the electoral process or exert undue influence on the voter and trust of the voters should be sought only on promises that can be fulfilled”.
“In view of the above, no violation of any of the provisions of Model Code of Conduct has been observed in the instant matter,” the EC said in its reply referring to the BJP’s promise. HT has seen a copy of the response. Gokhale called the promise discriminatory and misleading as the vaccine policy has not been announced yet.
Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who released BJP’s 11-point Sankalp Patra (document of pledges) for the elections in Patna last week, said as soon as Covid-19 vaccine is available, every person in Bihar will get free vaccination. The party later clarified the vaccine would be delivered to all citizens, and it was up to states to give it for free after receiving it at a nominal cost from the Centre. But experts and opposition parties questioned its inclusion in a poll manifesto, saying it amounted to linking politics with immunisation.