The ruling BJP today promised 19 lakh jobs and free coronavirus vaccination for all in its manifesto for the Bihar election starting next week. The party also stressed that ally Nitish Kumar will be Chief Minister for the next five years. In an attempt to undercut opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav’s promise of “10 lakh government jobs”, the BJP’s “Sankalp Patra” resolves to generate 19 lakh job opportunities. That the ruling party has almost doubled the figure promised by Tejashwi Yadav is significant, given that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had recently questioned how he could possibly raise the money to pay for 10 lakh jobs. Jobs have emerged as the centerpiece of the bitter Bihar campaign, with Tejashwi Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) linking the outsized crowds at his rallies to anger against the Nitish Kumar-led government over crippling unemployment in the state. The BJP’s manifesto is the first to include a Covid vaccine, which is still work in progress and is being chased by various companies and scientists across the world. “As soon as COVID-19 vaccine is available for production at a mass scale every person in Bihar will get free vaccination. This is the first promise mentioned in our poll manifesto,” said Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.