There is a famous misquote on politics, widely misattributed to Franklin D Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States. It says: 'In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it does, you can bet it was planned that way.' As per Wikiquote, FDR never said that. But the political opponents of Prime Minister Narendra Modi seem to have taken heart to it. They can't see anything beyond politics in PM Modi's actions, even in receiving a vaccine shot against Covid-19.
Ironically, his political rivals were not silent even earlier. Then they questioned why he was not taking the vaccine jab like the other world leaders and instill confidence among people. Now, they smell politics in PM Modi's 'gamocha' and in the native lands of the nurses who administered him the vaccine. They also seem to be creating confusion about why the Prime Minister was injected with the indigenously developed vaccine 'Covaxin'.
What's a no-brainer for everyone else is a political performance for PM Modi's political adversaries. 70-year-old Prime Minister went to AIIMS to take the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine only after the government rolled out the inoculation drive for people above 60. He reached the hospital early to avoid inconveniences to the people. And according to AIIMS Director Dr. Guleria, two nurses Sister P Niveda from Puducherry and Sister Rosamma Anil from Kerala were deployed as the vaccination team members for his immunisation.
Imaginary politics of Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and Owaisi
But senior Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury tried to paint a different picture linking everything with the upcoming elections. In his wisdom, PM Modi was wearing a 'gamocha' to woo the voters of Assam, and nurses from Kerala and Puducherry were stationed at AIIMS because the State and the Union Territory are going to polls in April.
The Congress leader should have explained why the Prime Minister did nothing to suit the voters of West Bengal? Isn't it true that Bengal is one of the most crucial states for the BJP to win? Or did Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury miss something in the entire picture?
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi was administered Covaxin, it was seen as an endeavour to end the hesitancy among people for the vaccine developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The hesitancy started after some experts raised questions over its efficacy data as the vaccine was still under Phase-III trials. Though, India's drug regulator has approved it, along with the Serum Institute of India's Covishield, for emergency use.
Then AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi went one step ahead of his friend in the Congress giving a bizarre twist to the truth. He subtly hinted that PM Modi opted for the Covaxin jab since a German committed had claimed that the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine was ineffective on people above 64. To make his statement equivocal, Owaisi called it a coincidence but asked the government to clear the confusion. Which confusion? The one that he only created?
The AIMIM chief must know that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has backed the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine despite the claims made by Germany and France. And the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) - an advisory body of WHO - has recommended its use for people above 65. Maybe Asaduddin Owaisi is aware of this. But he had to play politics.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not reflect the views of India TV. The author can be reached on Twitter @iamomtiwari)