Free COVID vaccine promise before Bihar elections not violation of poll code: EC

NEW DELHI: The BJP’s promise of providing free coronavirus vaccine in its manifesto for the Bihar assembly polls is not violative of the provisions of the model code, the Election Commission has held.
Responding to a complaint by RTI activist Saket Gokhale, the commission said 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.
Gokhale had claimed that the promise is discriminatory and a misuse of powers by the central government during elections. According to sources, 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 election manifesto,” one of the provisions quoted by the EC said.
The other provision cited by the EC said that 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. —PTI

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