The ruling BJP today promised 19 lakh jobs and free coronavirus vaccination for all in its manifesto for the Bihar election starting next week. The party also stressed that ally Nitish Kumar will be Chief Minister for the next five years.
In an attempt to undercut opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav's promise of "10 lakh government jobs", the BJP's "Sankalp Patra" resolves to generate 19 lakh job opportunities. That the ruling party has almost doubled the figure promised by Tejashwi Yadav is significant, given that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had recently questioned how he could possibly raise the money to pay for 10 lakh jobs.
Jobs have emerged as the centerpiece of the bitter Bihar campaign, with Tejashwi Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) linking the outsized crowds at his rallies to anger against the Nitish Kumar-led government over crippling unemployment in the state.
BJP's Bihar chief Sanjay Jaiswal said of the 19 lakh jobs listed in the manifesto, only four lakh - three lakh teachers and one lakh in health sector - are in the government sector. The rest are linked to promises to make Bihar an "IT hub" and to create an agriculture hub in the state.
Nitish Kumar, heckled at two recent rallies, was seen lashing out and ridiculing Tejashwi's jobs promise, calling him inexperienced and naive. The BJP, in the first response to Tejashwi's plan and his packed rallies, dissected his promise and questioned how he planned to come up with the funds to offer 10 lakh jobs.
The BJP's manifesto is the first to include a Covid vaccine, which is still work in progress and is being chased by various companies and scientists across the world. "As soon as COVID-19 vaccine is available for production at a mass scale every person in Bihar will get free vaccination. This is the first promise mentioned in our poll manifesto," said Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The BJP's promises include:
- 19 lakh job opportunities
- Free Covid vaccination for all in Bihar
- 3 lakh new teachers' appointments
- Making Bihar an IT hub to generate 1 0 lakh jobs
- Making one crore women self-reliant
- One lakh jobs in the health sector
- Pucca houses for 30 lakh people
- free tablets for all students from Class 9
Bihar will vote for a new 243-member assembly on October 28, November 3 and 7. The results will be declared on November 10.