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After Bihar and Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh promises free vaccine amid growing controversy BJPFree Vaccine
Image credit: IBNS File

After Bihar and Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh promises free vaccine amid growing controversy

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 23 Oct 2020, 12:22 am

New Delhi/IBNS: After Bihar and Tamil Nadu, the Madhya Pradesh government on Thursday too joined the bandwagon of promising free Covid-19 vaccines for the poor people of the state amid widespread criticisms for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which has been targeted by the opposition for using a life-saving vaccine to get political mileage.

Making the announcement, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweeted:  "My countrymen, we have taken many effective steps to protect the public from #COVID19. Today it is completely controlled. The preparation of Corona vaccine is going on fast in India, as soon as the vaccine is ready, it will be made available to every poor citizen of Madhya Pradesh for free."

Earlier, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami, who will face elections next year, on Thursday made a similar claim triggering a widespread controversy.

The oppositions have hit out at the ruling BJP for making the promise of free vaccination in poll-bound Bihar, where elections will begin from Oct 28.

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman earlier in the day unveiled the BJP manifesto in Bihar, saying, "As soon as a COVID-19 vaccine is available for production at a mass scale, every person in Bihar will get free vaccination".

It was the "first promise" mentioned in our manifesto, the minister said.

Taking a jibe at Tamil Nadu's ruling party AIADMK and the BJP, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi tweeted, "The Government of India just announced India’s Covid access strategy. Kindly refer to the state-wise election schedule to know when you will get it, along with a hoard of false promises."

Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal questioned if people who do not vote for the BJP will get the free vaccine.

"What about non-BJP ruled states? Indians who didn't vote BJP will not get free Covid vaccine?" he asked.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah questioned why Bihar should get free vaccines when the rest of the country has to pay.

"Will BJP be paying for these vaccines from the party treasury? If it's coming from the government treasury then how can Bihar get free vaccines while the rest of the country has to pay? There is so much wrong with this blatant populism that shamefully exploits COVID fears," he wrote on Twitter.

In a ray of hope, India's coronavirus vaccine named 'Covaxin', being developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), has been cleared for the third phase of clinical trials.