In a U-turn, Akhilesh Yadav says will get vaccinated against Covid-19
Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav, who said in January he won't get the shot against Covid-19 and called it a "Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) vaccine," announced on Tuesday he will take a jab against the coronavirus disease.
"Sensing people’s anger, the central government finally, instead of politicising the Covid-19 vaccine, announced it itself would provide vaccines against Covid-19. We were against the BJP vaccine, but I welcome the government of India's vaccine," a rough translation of Yadav's tweet in Hindi read. “I will get vaccinated and also request those who couldn't get a shot due to shortage of jabs, to get inoculated as well,” he said.
The tweet was in reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation on Monday when he said the Centre will procure the shots for the states and announced free vaccinations for all adults in the country.
A day before, Akhilesh Yadav's father and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav took his first shot against the coronavirus disease at a hospital in Gurugram. "SP chief patron and former chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav ji, thank you for taking the jab of the swadeshi (indigenous) vaccine. That you took the vaccine is a testimony that the SP national president Akhilesh Yadav spread a rumour about the vaccine. Akhilesh ji should apologise for it," Keshav Prasad Maurya, BJP leader and Uttar Pradesh's deputy chief minister, tweeted in Hindi on Monday.
In January, Yadav, also a former CM of the northern state, proclaimed thrice he won't take the “BJP's vaccine." "We have full confidence in the abilities of our scientists but we don't have any faith in the BJP's unscientific mentality, as well as its vaccination system which has become dormant during these Covid-19 times. I will not take this political vaccine. The SP government will provide free vaccines,” he said.
The BJP, which currently has a government in the state and at the Centre, displaced the SP from power in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. Uttar Pradesh will vote early next year and the state government's handling of the Covid-19 situation is likely to be a major factor in the polls.