NEW DELHI: Samajwadi Party (SP) president and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav’s remarks terming Covid-19 vaccines as “vaccine of the BJP” have drawn sharp reactions not just from the BJP but also from the opposition.
On Saturday, Yadav had said he would not trust the COVID-19 vaccine and would not take it because it was the BJP’s vaccine.
While talking to media persons, he had said, “How can I trust the vaccine, which will be used for vaccination by the BJP? We cannot get vaccinated by the BJP’s vaccine” and added that SP would come to power in the state after 2022 elections and everybody would get the vaccine for free.
However, after a furore over his remarks, Yadav issued a clarification. In a tweet in Hindi, he said the COVID-19 vaccination was a sensitive issue and, therefore, the BJP should not make it a show-off event. Instead, it should start the vaccination only after advance and concrete preparations.
He further said, "It is a question of the lives of the people. Therefore, risks should not be taken to make corrections later on. A definite date should be announced for the vaccination of the poor."
कोरोना का टीकाकरण एक संवेदनशील प्रक्रिया है इसीलिए भाजपा सरकार इसे कोई सजावटी-दिखावटी इवेंट न समझे और अग्रिम पु… https://t.co/ApSOcxBcUf— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) 1609645811000
Shortly after Yadav’s remarks, another leader of his party made a wilder comment. SP’s Mirzapur MLC Ashutosh Sinha claimed that the people feared that COVID-19 vaccine could make them impotent. "If honourable Akhilesh Yadav has said this, then there will be something serious. We do not believe in the machinery of the government. He has said this based on facts. If he is not vaccinating himself, then I think COVID-19 vaccine might contain something, which can cause harm. Tomorrow, people will say the vaccine was given to kill/decrease the population. You can even become impotent, anything can happen… And If Akhilesh Yadav is saying this, then I think no one should get vaccinated in the state."
Reacting to Yadav’s comments, the BJP accused him of "insulting" the doctors and scientists. UP deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said, “Akhilesh Yadav does not have trust in the vaccine, and people of Uttar Pradesh do not have trust in Akhilesh Yadav. His raising questions on the vaccine is an insult to doctors and scientists of the country. He should tender an apology.”
Union minister of state for finance Anurag Thakur termed Yadav's remarks as unfortunate.
Not just BJP leaders, but also former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah rubbished Yadav's statements. He said, "I don’t know about anyone else but when my turn comes I’ll happily roll up my sleeve and get a COVID vaccine. This damn virus has been far too disruptive and if a vaccine helps bring about a semblance of normalcy after all the chaos then sign me up."
Abdullah further said the more people that get vaccinated the better it will be for the country & the economy. "No vaccine belongs to any political party, they belong to humanity & the sooner we get vulnerable people vaccinated the better," he said in a tweet.
The more people that get vaccinated the better it will be for the country & the economy. No vaccine belongs to any… https://t.co/Ik7AnDo2ZQ— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) 1609591550000
A trial drill for distribution of Covid-19 vaccine began across the country on Saturday, officials said.