Free vaccine promise not code violation: Election Commission

A Mumbai-based RTI activist had alleged that the promise was discriminatory and amounted to misuse of power

Free vaccine promise not code violation: Election Commission

Photo for representation. PTI file

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 31

The Election Commission (EC) today held that the BJP’s promise of providing free Covid-19 vaccine in its manifesto for the Bihar Assembly elections “is not a violation of the model code of conduct”.

The order came on a complaint filed by Mumbai-based RTI activist Saket Gokhale, who had alleged that the promise was discriminatory and amounted to misuse of power.

Sources said the poll panel cited certain guidelines contained in Part VIII of the MCC to conclude that the free vaccine promise was not in violation of the norms.

“The Directive Principles of State Policy enshrined in the Constitution enjoin upon the state to frame various welfare measures for citizens. Therefore, there can be no objection to the promise of such welfare in an election manifesto,” the EC is learnt to have said, adding that the trust of voters can be sought “on promises which are possible to be fulfilled”.

It’s welfare measure: poll panel

There can be no objection to the promise of such welfare in an election manifesto… The trust of voters can be sought on promises which are possible to be fulfilled. Election Commission

Reacting to the order, Gokhale tweeted: “The ECI shockingly ignored the fact that the Union Government promised the vaccine for a specific state particularly when election atmosphere is vitiated.”

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

Nath moves SC on star campaigner status

Congress leader and former Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath on Saturday moved the Supreme Court challenging an Election Commission order revoking his “star campaigner” status for violations of the model code while campaigning for the byelections in 28 Assembly constituencies in the state.

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