New Race Kicks Off in Poll-bound States as Free Covid-19 Vaccines Promised in Bihar, Tamil Nadu and MP

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Bharatiya Janata Party's 'free Covid-19 vaccine for Bihar' poll promise has kicked off a new race with state governments making similar assurances as India tries to wriggle out of the virus crisis. Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is the latest leader to join the list.

However, Chouhan, unlike his counterpart in Tamil Nadu and his party's offer for Bihar, has limited his promise for poor in the state. "Ever since the trial of the Covid-19 vaccine started in the country, a discussion started in the poor section of the country, if they'll be able to bear these expenses. Today I want to make it clear, every poor people in Madhya Pradesh will get free vaccine. We will win this battle," he tweeted on Thursday evening.

Earlier in the day, Tamil Nadu CM EK Palaniswami assured free immunisation against coronavirus for all sections of people in the state as soon as a vaccine is made available. "I would like to announce that as soon as the vaccine is developed (and made available to states) all people in Tamil Nadu will be immunised and the government shall bear the cost," he said in Chennai during an official visit.

Interestingly, all these three states are poll-bound. While Bihar assembly elections and Madhya Pradesh byelections are round the corner, Tamil Nadu state polls will be held in 2021.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan last week said India is expected to have a Covid-19 vaccine in a few months and the country should be in the process of delivering it to people in the next six months. Presently Covid-19 vaccines are in various stages of trials.