Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh: States promise free Covid-19 vaccine after BJP’s poll promise in Bihar
The BJP, meanwhile, clarified that Covid-19 vaccine will be provided to all the people in the country at nominal costs. Presently, Covid-19 vaccines are in various stages of trials.Updated: Oct 22, 2020, 22:05 IST
A poll promise made by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bihar is fast catching up with other state governments. Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh took a cue from the Bihar announcement to offer free vaccine for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
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.
“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.
Shortly after this, Madhya Pradesh chief minister 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 tweet posted in Hindi.
However, there were some criticism of the BJP’s announcement with the party’s estranged ally Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) questioning of 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 using hashtags #VaccineForVotes #COVID19.
Punjab-based SAD had recently quit the central government and subsequently the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) over the passage of three farm bills. The Congress government in Punjab passed a resolution against the farm laws in the state Assembly earlier this week.
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 health minister Harsh Vardhan has last week said India is expected to have a Covid-19 vaccine in a few months and the country should be in the process of delivering it to people in the next six months.
Presently, Covid-19 vaccines are in various stages of trials.