The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday released its manifesto for the Bihar Assembly elections starting next week. The saffron party promised 19 lakh jobs and a free coronavirus vaccination for all the people of the state.

The manifesto, titled “Paanch sutra, ek lakshya, 11 sankalp”, was released by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Patna. If voted to power, the party said it would work for the development of five main sectors – villages, cities, industries, education and agriculture – in order to create a “self-reliant Bihar”.

Sitharaman said her party believes in “fulfilling poll promises”. “As soon as the Covid-19 vaccine will be available for production at a mass scale, every person in Bihar will get free vaccination,” she said. “This is the first promise mentioned in our poll manifesto.”

Over 100 vaccines are being developed around the world to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

The manifesto was released a day after Lok Janshakti Party chief Chirag Paswan promised to set up a “coaching city” similar to Rajasthan’s Kota, Delhi’s Mukherjee Nagar and Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj, if voted to power in Bihar. The party, which is part of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance at the Centre, is contesting the Bihar elections independently after disagreement over seat sharing.

The BJP promised to turn Bihar into an Information Technology centre by generating 10 lakh jobs in the sector. Besides this, the manifesto promised one lakh jobs in the health sector, pucca houses for 30 lakh people, and three lakh new job appointments for teachers in the state.

The manifesto also assured to make medical education, including technical education in Bihar, available in Hindi.

“Ten thousand doctors, including 50,000 paramedical personnel, will be provided job opportunities in health department to a total of 1 lakh people in the state,” it added. At the same time, the prime minister will ensure the operation of the second All India Institute of Medical Sciences given to Darbhanga, Bihar by 2024, the document said.

On agriculture, the saffron party said that after paddy and wheat, the government would also procure pulses at the minimum support price. “We have pledged that we will encourage co-operatives and combed milk production,” the BJP said. “Also, 15 new processing industries based on private and comfed [Bihar State Milk Co-Operative Federation] will be created in two years by providing ease for private investment in processing sector.”

Sitharaman, while unveiling the manifesto, said Bihar’s growth will be an integral part of India’s growth. “Bihar is one state where all citizens are politically sensitive and well informed,” she added. “They know and understand the promises a party makes. If anyone raises questions on our manifesto, we can answer them with confidence as we fulfil what we promised.”

Voting for the Bihar polls will be held in three phases – the first on October 28, second on November 3 and the third on November 7. The results will be announced on November 10. This will be the first election to take place in the country amid the coronavirus crisis.

The Bharatiya Janata Party is contesting the elections with its long time ally Janata Dal (United) as Chief Minister Nitish Kumar fights for another term. The Assembly comprises 243 seats, with the majority mark being 122.

The grand alliance in Bihar – Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), Communist Party of India and Communist Party of India (Marxist) – released its manifesto on October 17. The alliance promised to scrap the new farm laws and focus on employment.