Shiv Sena has accused the BJP of playing “dirty” politics by promising free COVID vaccine ahead of the Assembly elections in Bihar.
Every state has equal rights to a COVID vaccine and the Centre should not show differential treatment in its distribution, the Sena said. The vaccine should be made available to Bihar, but the “other states are not Pakistan”, the party said in its mouthpiece Saamana.
In its manifesto for the Bihar elections, the BJP has promised free COVID vaccine for everyone if it returns to power in alliance with the JD(U) led by chief minister Nitish Kumar.
The Sena said the BJP at the Centre should not play politics over a vaccine when the entire country, and not just Bihar, is grappling with the pandemic. “Every one has equal rights on the the vaccine,” the party said in an editorial.
The manifesto, which was released by Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, went against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assurance that when a COVID vaccine becomes available, it will be given to all equally and it wouldn’t be distributed on the basis of caste, religion or state.
It said the BJP was focusing on coronavirus because it had failed in its other promises. “”The country has over 75 lakhs cases of COVID. But, the BJP’s focus now is only on Bihar. There’s no vikas now. Problems like joblessness, food don’t concern the BJP because it is not able to create jobs. That is why it is talking about coronavirus,” the Sena’s editorial said.
“Whose guidance is the BJP receiving? What is wrong with its leadership? It was only a couple of days back that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the country, had said COVID vaccine will be distributed to all, irrespective of caste, religion, state. But, the promise in the BJP’s manifesto is strange. It talks about free vaccine for people in Bihar if the BJP comes to power,” Sena said.
The party said the Election Commission should take action against the BJP, for trying to make political gains from the fear caused by the pandemic.
Sena was also critical of the political rallies being held in Bihar, saying the parties were not ensuring social distancing during campaigning.
“The election in Bihar is the first in the time of the COVID pandemic. The rallies should have been held virtually,” it said. But leaders are hopping from one place to another in helicopters to participate in rallies. “It is as if Bihar is free of coronavirus,” it said.