For Bihar elections, in BJP manifesto, point number 1 is the promise of providing free vaccine for the cure of Wuhan virus to all residents of the state. This is something which clearly means that the pandemic has been politicised by the party ruling at the Centre now. Tamil Nadu in far south is the next state lined up for polls after some time. Chief Minister of TN has made a similar promise to provide free vaccine for COVID-19 cure to all the residents of the state. Incidentally, a possible vaccine for the pandemic cure may be far away from becoming a reality any day soon. Yet, competitive politicking over vaccine seems to have been initiated by the BJP in right earnest with its announcement. Some senior BJP leaders tried to create deliberate confusion by saying that the promise has been made by the Bihar state unit of the party. This clarification seems aimed at conveying to the ordinary people that this is not (yet) the official stance of the Central leadership of the party. If Bihar state unit of the BJP can promise to provide vaccines for free to residents of Bihar, why can’t the Central government do the same for the entire country? The party can’t argue that what can prove good for Bihar (free vaccines), will not be very good if replicated throughout the nation.We need to remember that a good number of promises made by various political parties in their electoral manifestoes remain unfulfilled. They are often insincere promises made to gullible voters in the hope of influencing them at the hustings. Most voters also know that these are often empty, meaninglessness and false promises to lead the voters to a garden path. Voters are promised the moon and they know well that the shadow of moon in a pail of water is all they can expect to get. Yet, these are cheap tactics employed by various political parties in different commutations and combinations all over the world in democratic societies when voting day draws near. Let us be clear about one thing here that it is not the BJP alone which is guilty of employing these methods. Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) of Laloo Prasad Yadav, led by his son Tejasvi Yadav, appears guilty of promoting blatant lies regarding jobs. He had initially promised to create 10 lakh government jobs if his party is voted to power in Bihar. Seriously? Tejasvi as also his supporters know clearly that this is a promise just next to impossible to fulfill as massive funds will be needed for creating office space and providing salaries to these employees. Closer home, in the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir, elections will have to be held some day after a fresh delimitation. Will the local unit of the BJP fight elections on the promise of free vaccines for all people domiciled in the UT as and when they are held? Why do most parties turn into freeloaders of sorts at the times of elections? It may be noted that crores of rupees are spent by the government on providing certain vaccines under its universal immunisation programme. With massive economic setbacks suffered by the government, as also private companies and individuals, due to COVID-19, does it make sense to promise providing free vaccines? As it is, crores of people would be too happy on the day a reliable vaccine against the pandemic is found out. They would perhaps also be happy even to pay the cost of the vaccine if it is reasonably priced and available widely.
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