Lucknow: Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav stirred a controversy as he termed the COVID-19 vaccines to be rolled out in the country as “vaccine of the BJP” and said that he would not take the shot. His comments drew a sharp retort from the ruling party that accused him of “insulting” the doctors and scientists working on the vaccine against the novel coronavirus.Also Read - 40% Newly-Elected RS Members Facing Criminal Charges, Including Murder, Crime Against Women: Report

“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 here. Also Read - Farooq Abdullah, Gopalkrishna Gandhi Emerge As Opposition Candidates For Presidential Race

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He also said his party will come to power in the state after 2022 elections and everybody will get the vaccine for free then.

His remarks promoted an instant rebuttal from BJP leader and Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya who termed the 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 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.

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 aims to test the linkages between planning and implementation, and identify challenges.

(With inputs from PTI)