Akhilesh tweaks vaccine remark, says never raised questions on scientists
Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav on Monday clarified that he had only questioned the preparedness of the governments at the Centre and the state in the Covid vaccination campaign and had not cast doubts on scientists, researchers, experts, or volunteers engaged in vaccine development.
Yadav, who had triggered a controversy earlier last Saturday by saying that he would not take “BJP vaccine”, went on to say that “BJP (people) should get vaccinated first”.
This was his third successive attack on the BJP-- the party leads the government at the Centre and also runs the state-- in as many days over the Covid vaccine. On Sunday, he had said the government should not treat the immunisation campaign as a cosmetic event but make concrete arrangements for it before the launch.
At a press conference at the party headquarters on the sidelines of a Samajwadi Party Vyapar Sabha meeting here, Yadav said, “We do not trust the BJP’s decisions. The BJP government is in the habit of doing ornamental work, turning everything into an event. I questioned the preparedness for vaccination. The government is doing a dry run, but where are the priority lists, charts and protocol for the vaccination drive? Other countries made priority lists —frontline workers, 80+ citizens, 60+ citizens and so on. What is the BJP government’s plan?”
He also asked, “When will the poor people get the vaccine, in one year, two years or three years? Would they get it free? They should get it free.”
When it was pointed to him that people were expressing apprehension over the vaccine’s possible reactions, Yadav said, “The government should dispel doubts, if any. Yes, people are raising such doubts... Social media is flooded with it, other leaders and political parties are also asking questions.”
The Samajwadi Party chief also attacked the Yogi Adityanath government in the state over the Ghaziabad crematorium tragedy that has claimed 25 lives so far. “This government is responsible for it. This is how they build structures...A compensation of Rs2 lakh (to kin of victims) is meagre, the government must give Rs50 lakh each instead,” he said.
Yadav also hinted at having no alliance with Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for the 2022 UP assembly elections. “It (AAP) can be considered a big party. It has a government, a chief minister and MPs. We will not ally with any major political party, we will ally with smaller parties,” he said.
The SP chief said if his party came to power after the 2022 assembly polls, it would make some special arrangement for protection of businessmen in the state.
“Our businessmen raised important questions because they suffered the most during the lockdown. They did not get support from the banks and the government. They were forced to pay electricity bills even when factories were shut...,” he said.