There is a sharp uptick in vaccination numbers over the last ten days in the districts which are strongholds of the Samajwadi Party vote-base since party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav took the jab on June 7 and Akhilesh Yadav also appealed a day later to all to get vaccinated.
In coverage, these districts like Etawah, Kannauj, Mainpuri and Azamgarh still remain below the average vaccination done overall in UP and were reporting really low numbers till May. Akhilesh Yadav, the SP President and MP from Azamgarh, in January had said he will “not take the BJP’s vaccine shot”. But on June 8, a day after his father Mulayam Singh Yadav got vaccinated, Akhilesh said he will take the “Government of India’s vaccine” and appealed to all to take the shots. Akhilesh contracted Covid in April.
This seems to have had a positive impact on areas where SP voters rule the roost, like Kannauj, which both Akhilesh and his wife Dimple Yadav have represented in Parliament earlier. Only 7.5% (1.4 lakh) of the total population of about 19 lakh in Kannauj has got the jab so far, below the 10% vaccination rate of the state. But while only about 200-300 people got jabs daily here till May 30 and average of 2,500 people were getting vaccinated daily in Kannauj between June 1 and 5, over 5,000 people daily are now getting the jabs in Kannauj since June 12.
When News18 visited Kannauj’s government medical college on June 15, a decent queue could be seen for vaccination. A group of Yadav families who had come here from Gursainganj said they had been “motivated” after they saw Mulayam Singh Yadav’s vaccination picture. “When Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) is also getting a jab, we feel we should also get one and there is no danger from it; though Covid is almost but over in our village,” Manoj Yadav, a farmer said.
In Azamgarh, the present Lok Sabha constituency of Akhilesh, about 4.4 lakh jabs have been given against a population of 53 lakh in the district, at about 8% coverage. While about 42,000 jabs were given in this district in the week of May 29-June 4, the following week saw 53,416 jabs being given and the number this week has already crossed 30,000. Similar is the situation in Mulayam’s constituency of Mainpuri where weekly vaccination has doubled from 6,322 from May 29-June 4 to 11716 in the following week and 10585 in this week so far.
Etawah, the home district of the Yadav family which also has their native village of Saifai, is reporting a near 10% vaccination coverage so far with 1.4 lakh jabs given against 19 lakh total population. In Saifai, when News18 visited on Tuesday, a decent rush of people for the jabs could be seen at two of the vaccination centers, the Community Health Centre (CHC) and UP University of Medical Sciences in Saifai. “The momentum has picked up in the last 10 days. That is also because of the UP government’s efforts and good stock of vaccines,” a doctor said.
Etawah saw about 19,000 jabs given from June 5-11, up from 10,320 jabs a week earlier and only 3,756 jabs given the week before that.