Hours after the BJP promised free Covid-19 vaccine for Bihar in its poll manifesto, Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami echoed the announcement, assuring no-cost shots for south Indian state once it's developed.
After attending a review meeting in Pudukkottai district, Palaniswami said, "People are highly scared and anxious because of the pandemic. I would like to announce here that once the vaccine is developed, the Tamil Nadu government will undertake a completely government sponsored vaccination programme that will be free for all."
The announcement immediately turned political with the DMK calling it a 'hollow assurance'. DMK spokesperson Manu Sundaram said it is "utter blunder" as the chief minister is not in a position to tell the state as to when the vaccine will be ready. “It demolishes the foundation of the statement.”
AIADMK’s ally BJP has welcomed the announcement. “We welcome the announcement made by the Chief Minister. I think it is the duty of the government and also the ruling party to give this confidence to the people. People will be happy if they feel that they would not have to spend money for the vaccine. I don't see any problem in the statement made,” state BJP spokesperson Narayanan Tirupathi said.
Tamil Nadu has been recording more than 3,000 cases at any given day and Chennai alone has been reporting at least 800 cases per day. With the ongoing festival season, the state government said it will be a challenge to contain the spread of the virus.