India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised free doses of any future COVID-19 vaccine for the residents of eastern Bihar state if his party wins the state elections there, drawing accusations of playing politics with the pandemic.
While releasing a the party manifesto for elections in Bihar, Modi’s cabinet minister Nirmala Sitharaman said: “Everyone in Bihar will get a vaccine for free, that’s our first manifesto promise.”
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.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) October 22, 2020
“To make this an election-related issue over a humanitarian crisis is highly immoral and unethical,” Priyanka Chaturvedi, a lawmaker and spokeswoman for the Shiv Sena party, a former ally of the BJP wrote on Twitter.
The BJP currently rules Bihar with an ally but is facing a united opposition. Elections there start next week over phases, and results are expected on November 10.
Bihar, which is India’s third most populous state and also one of its poorest, has so far reported more than 200,000 coronavirus cases.
So far India has recorded 7.77 million cases, behind only the United States.