Want to vaccinate Bengal free of cost before polls: Mamata writes to PM Modi
New Delhi, Feb 24: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's help in procuring COVID-19 vaccines so that entire state can be vaccinated before the upcoming state assembly elections.
A rapid vaccination programme is needed immediately for the interests of health and well-being of all concerned, Banerjee said in a letter to Modi.
"West Bengal being an election-going state, we are required to reach out practically to every government and para-statal employee on an urgent basis to make the election safe. However, the worrying point is that, in the ensuing elections, the people in general will be forced to go to the polling stations without any vaccination coverage," she wrote to Modi.
"We feel that it is equally important to reach out to them with a rapid vaccination programme immediately for the interest of health and well-being of all concerned," her letter said.
"We would request you to kindly take up the matter with appropriate authority, so that the state government is able to purchase the vaccines from designated point(s) on top priority basis, because the West Bengal government wants to provide vaccination free of cost to all the people," she wrote.
Election to the 294-member West Bengal assembly is due in April-May.
The Election Commission has already started inoculation of its personnel involved in holding polls in the state and the process will get over before the elections start.
Till Tuesday at least eight lakh health workers and frontline workers were vaccinated in West Bengal, officials said.
Incidentally BJP, which has emerged as the main opposition to the ruling TMC in the state, had in its manifesto for the assembly poll in neighbouring Bihar promised to provide free COVID-19 vaccine to every person if the National Democratic Alliance returns to power.