Uttarakhand BJP MLA Champion gets 25-year-old son vaccinated out of turn, slammed
A viral picture of Uttarakhand Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and MLA Kunwar Pranav Singh Champion’s 25-year-old son getting Covid-19 vaccine shot has led to a political storm in Uttarakhand with the opposition accusing the state government of encouraging VIP culture at a time when the shortage of medical supplies and vaccines have respectively led to deaths of Covid-19 patients and hampered the vaccination drive.
Pranav Singh Champion’s son Kunwar Divye Pratap Singh is seen getting a dose of the vaccine in the photograph at a time when the state has not been able to begin the inoculation drive for those in the 18-45 years age group due to a shortage of the Covid vaccines. His certificate of vaccination dated May 5, issued at the Government Doon Medical Hospital in Dehradun, was also shared on social media, following stinging criticism from the Congress party and the AAP.
“The episode has completely exposed the government’s... Covid-19 management. On one hand, when [the] common man is dying due to lack of basic medical facilities, BJP MLA Champion is getting his 25-year-old son vaccinated,” said Congress state vice president Suryakant Dhasmana. “It’s a joke on the common man... that the VIP syndrome prevails unapologetically even in a pandemic,” Dhasmana added.
AAP state president SS Kaler said it was an “insult of [the] common man”. “On the one hand, youth are dying on roads lacking treatment in hospitals but BJP’s privileged people like Champion are able to get their hands on the vaccines for their ineligible kin.”
After receiving one lakh doses of vaccine on Saturday evening, the state health department has announced that the inoculation drive for people in the 18-45 years age bracket will start from May 10. Responding to the controversy, state health secretary Amit Negi said, “The department would find out how Champion’s 25-year-old son received the jab.”
Pranav Singh, meanwhile, claimed his son was a “frontline warrior” in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic and was thus eligible to receive the vaccine as per government’s policy. He also shared photographs of his son distributing masks to police personnel in his constituency.
“I don’t know what it is with the media that anything related to me is turned into a controversy unnecessarily. Media always antagonises me like in this case when my son has done nothing wrong. He has been distributing Covid-19 relief material along with me as a frontline warrior, hence he got the jab,” said Champion.
He further claimed that in his constituency residents in the 18-44 age group were being vaccinated since April 30. “I would like to invite members of the Congress and the AAP in the age group to get inoculated in my constituency,” he said.
Meanwhile, a staff at Doon Government Hospital said the BJP MLA came to the hospital to get his wife vaccinated on May 5 and “asked the nurses on duty to vaccinate his son too.”
“He came to the vaccination centre with his armed guards. And considering his controversial background, the nurses there didn’t dare to oppose his demand and gave the jab to his son, “said the hospital staff who didn’t wish to be named.
Pranav Singh Champion is known for controversies including for an incident where he was seen dancing while brandishing guns with liquor lying nearby. In another instance, he used derogatory remarks for another BJP MLA from scheduled caste category, following which he was thrown out of the party before being reinstated last year by the BJP state leadership.