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Sunday, May 16, 2021

Vaccine politics: BJP vows free shots, TMC flags Bihar promise

With two more phases of voting remaining in West Bengal, TMC had made a similar promise to vaccinate everyone above the age of 18 for free.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: April 24, 2021 5:53:24 am
Mamata Banerjee, Narendra ModiPrime Minister Narendra Modi and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (PTI/Express photo by Partha Paul)

Following in the footsteps of the TMC, the BJP on Friday promised to provide Covid-19 vaccines free to people in West Bengal if it was voted to power.

“As soon as the BJP government comes to power in West Bengal, COVID-19 vaccine will be provided free of cost to everyone,” tweeted the BJP on a day when the campaigning for the seventh phase of elections ended.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had on Thursday announced that all people above the age of 18 would be vaccinated free of cost from May 5 if her returned to power.

Calling the BJP announcement a “jhumla” (rhetoric), the TMC said the saffron party had “fooled” the people of Bihar by promising a similar sop during the Assembly elections last year.

“Here comes the free vaccine jumla announcement from Bharatiya Jumlebaaz Party @BJP4Bengal! Similar promise was made by them to fool people in Bihar before elections, which they have conveniently forgotten. Bengal won’t be fooled,” tweeted the TMC.

TMC MP Derek O’Brien warned people against the “free vaccine jumla”. In a video tweet, he said, “BJP’s free vaccine jumla… It’s the election (time) with two phases to go in Bengal. And remember what the BJP did in Bihar. They announced during the election free vaccines. Nothing happened. Elections finished, they forgot. Free vaccine jumla, vaccines for all in Bengal. Don’t believe the BJP. Don’t trust the BJP.”

Banerjee had on Thursday said the Central government’s different vaccine prices for states and itself were “anti-people” and favoured manufactures, and demanded that the shots be administered free of cost across India.

“Why should the prices of vaccine be different in cases of state governments? GOI gets the vaccine from manufacturers at Rs 150 per dose while you have fixed for us, the states, a price of Rs 400 per dose! States will need to pay 167 per cent more… This is anti-federal and anti-poor. States will buy vaccine for the poor and young. Hence, your policy is both anti-poor and anti-youth. Such peculiar differentiation of rates is also unheard of in the Indian history. In fact, never ever has any state in this country been asked to buy vaccines in any mass immunisation drive. Let alone at such high rates!” she had written to Modi.

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