Rajya Sabha MP and senior Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut on Friday slammed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for its promise of free COVID-19 vaccine to all in Bihar.
Sanjay Raut asked if the vaccine would not be available in the states where there is no BJP government. While speaking to news agency ANI, Sanjay Raut said: "A new system is being made that wherever there is a BJP-ruled government, where the votes are being cast in favour of the BJP, they will get the vaccine."
"Earlier it used to be - 'tum mujhe khoon do,main tumhe azadi dunga' and now it's - 'tum mujhe vote do,hum tumhe vaccine denge'.Only those who vote for BJP will get vaccine, it shows BJP's discriminatory nature," he said.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Thursday released the BJPs manifesto for the Bihar assembly polls which promised free COVID-19 vaccine once it has been cleared by the ICMR.
"In the fight against coronavirus, the NDA government has set an example in the country. It is our resolution that as soon as the vaccine will be approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), every person in the State will be vaccinated," the manifesto said. The promise figured at the top of the BJP's election document.
BJP's promise of free COVID-19 vaccine drew criticism. A major row broke out, with opposition parties slamming the announcement as “politicisation of the pandemic” while asking if India’s vaccination strategy would be driven by the election schedule of its states.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday took a dig at the BJP over its promise that people in poll-bound Bihar will get vaccine against coronavirus free after it is cleared by ICMR and said the Centre has announced its COVID "access strategy" and that people in every state should refer to their election schedule to know when they will get the vaccine.
"GOI just announced India's Covid access strategy. Kindly refer to the state-wise election schedule to know when will you get it, along with a hoard of false promises," Gandhi said in a tweet.