Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday termed the anti-Covid vaccine to be rolled out in the country a "vaccine of the BJP" and said he would not take the shot, prompting a sharp reaction not only from the ruling party but also from NC vice-president Omar Abdullah.
While the ruling BJP accused Yadav of "insulting" doctors and scientists, Abdullah said vaccines don't belong to any political party, but humanity.
Hours later after terming the anti-Covid vaccine as a “vaccine of the BJP”, Yadav, however, said in a tweet that he had full faith in scientists but not in the “taali and thali wali” unscientific thinking of the BJP.
"How can I trust the vaccine, which will be used for vaccination by the BJP? We cannot get vaccinated by the BJP's vaccine," he told reporters earlier in the day.
Yadav’s remarks prompted an instant retort from BJP leader and Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya who termed his statement an "insult to the doctors and scientists of the country".
"Akhilesh Yadav does not have trust in the vaccine and people of Uttar Pradesh do not have the 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," Maurya told reporters.
Taking to Twitter, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister too later said, "I don't know about anyone else but when my turn comes, I'll happily roll up my sleeve & get a COVID vaccine."
I don’t know about anyone else but when my turn comes I’ll happily roll up my sleeve & get a COVID vaccine. This damn virus has been far too disruptive & if a vaccine helps bring about a semblance of normalcy after all the chaos then sign me up. https://t.co/bVOw7lPJ6w— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) January 2, 2021
The more people get vaccinated, the better it will be for the country and the economy, the National Conference (NC) vice president said.
"No vaccine belongs to any political party, they belong to humanity & the sooner we get vulnerable people vaccinated the better," he tweeted.
During his press conference, Yadav also said his party will come to power in the state after 2022 elections and everybody will get the vaccine free.
Later in a tweet in Hindi, Yadav said, “We have full faith in the efficiency of scientists but do not trust the unscientific thinking of the BJP and the medical arrangements of the BJP government administering vaccines which had been lying almost inactive during the corona times.”
“We will not take the political vaccine of the BJP. The SP government will provide free vaccines,” he asserted later too in his tweet.
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In reaction to his remarks, the president BJP’s Uttar Pradesh unit, Swatantra Dev Singh also took aims at the SP chief in a tweet.
“The 'BJP vaccine' has proved effective in eliminating corruption and hooliganism. What vaccine are you talking about?” SwatantraDev Singh asked, tagging Akhilesh Yadav too with his tweet.
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A trial drill for distribution of COVID-19 vaccine began across the country on Saturday, officials said.
The Centre had on Thursday stated that the exercises aim to test the linkages between planning and implementation, and identify challenges.