Free coronavirus vaccine promise in Bihar does not violate poll code says EC

Free coronavirus vaccine promise in Bihar does not violate poll code says EC

The Election Commission has said that BJP's promise of providing free coronavirus vaccine in its manifesto for the Bihar assembly polls does not violate the model code.

As per a report in the Press Trust of India, the commission responded to a complaint by RTI activist Saket Gokhale and said that it has found no violation of the provisions of the model code in the issue.

"...no violation of any of the provisions of Model Code of Conduct has been observed...," the commission said, as per PTI.

Gokhale had claimed that the promise is discriminatory and a misuse of powers by the central government during elections, as per PTI.

PTI quoted sources as saying that the commission cited certain guidelines for election manifestos contained in Part VIII of the Model Code of Conduct to conclude that the free vaccine promise was not violative of it.

"The Directive Principles of State Policy enshrined in the Constitution enjoin upon the State to frame various welfare measures for the citizens and therefore there can be no objection to the promise of such welfare in the election manifesto," one of the provisions quoted by the EC said, as per PTI.

The other provision cited by the EC said, "Trust of voters should be sought only on those promises which are possible to be fulfilled".

"It is stated that the election manifestoes are issued by political parties, candidates in respect of a particular election," the EC response said, as reported by PTI.

Gokhale wrote on Twitter on Friday, "ECI shockingly ignored the fact that the Union government announced it for a specific state and said action is taken when the election atmosphere is vitiated."

Earlier this month, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had released the BJP manifesto for the Bihar assembly polls which promised free Covid-19 vaccine once it is cleared by the ICMR.