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Rajeev Satav (1974-2021): A Small Face of the Meteoric Rise in Congress

Rajeev Satav

From a block panchayat member, Rajiv Satav graduated from Zilla Parishad of his hometown of Hingoli a few years later and became an MP for the first time in 2009.

Rajeev Satav began his election career as a member of the block panchayat in 2002 and became a Lok Sabha member and Rajya Sabha for 18 years. (Express Archive)
When Rajeev Satav took some of Congress’s top leaders to an internal party meeting in August last year, it surprised many. For Satav, who died in the aftermath of the Covid crisis on Sunday, he was known as a soft-spoken leader who avoided open conflict and believed in reforms and settlements, which was a common feature of Congress.

But over the years, he was close to Rahul Gandhi and was identified as a prominent member of Rahul’s party. So the position he has taken is in line with the internal conflict the party is seeing now.

It was political, internal divisions. And he was very political. So that episode is divided; Satav was not argumentative and did not brag about the ability to make friends. He was a man of the organization.

“She was a rising star in the Congress party,” Sonia Gandhi said, expressing shock at her death.

Rajya Sabha, a 46-year-old member of the party, had a rise in the ANC. He started his election career as a member of the block panchayat in 2002 and became Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MP for 18 years. In the organization, he started as the head of the Maharashtra Youth Congress office. After that, he became the national president of the Youth Congress, the AICC, which holds the critical state of Gujarat, and a member of the CWC.

 Rajiv Satav and Rahul Gandhi in 2009 at a meeting in Maharashtra. (Express Archive)
A graduate in law and alumnus of Pune’s well-known Fergusson College, Satav comes from a political household. His mother, Rajanitai Satav, had been a Member of the Legislature and a Minister. But Satav, unlike many other Congress stars, rose through the ranks. His awakening was only quick, though. From a block panchayat member, he graduated to Zilla Parishad of his hometown of Hingoli a few years later and became an MP for the first time in 2009.

At the same time, he became president of the state Youth Congress. Finally, in 2010 he was elected President of the National Youth Congress. For many, he was one of the OBC faces of Congress in Maharashtra.

In 2014, when Congress was assassinated nationwide, he was among 44 MPs. He and the likes of Sushmita Dev, Gourav Gogoi, and Deepender Hooda lead the congressional hearing in Lok Sabha and often beat the party’s weight under the leadership of Mallikarjun Kharge.

The party sent him to Sabha last year. He was one of eight members of Parliament suspended during a farm dispute in the Upper House.

Rajiv satav In 2010, Satav was elected National Youth President. (Express Archive)
Sonia said Satav went from low to high and had many responsibilities in a short time because of his unwavering dedication, integrity, and hard work. Rahul wrote on Twitter: “I am deeply saddened by the loss of my friend Rajeev Satav. He was a competent leader who united the aims of Congress. It has been a huge loss for all of us. I extend my words of comfort and love to her family.”

Satav was one of the leading architects of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government because he was close to Rahul Gandhi, said Shiv Sena and parliamentary spokesman Sanjay Raut.

The MVA government, a coalition of Shiv Sena, the NCP, and Congress, came into existence in November 2019. But, unfortunately, it was formed at a time when no one was present, including the Congressman himself, who believed the party would meet with Sena in the event of a disagreement.

Rajiv Satav and Rahul Gandhi at a meeting in Maharashtra, 2009. (Express Archive)
“I kept in touch with him. He used to tell me that Congress, at the moment, did not seem to be in a position to join Sena. But, he used to keep trying, and I’m sure the situation in the team will change. And it eventually changed,” said Raut.

Congress leader and Minister of State Satej Patil said, “The death of Satav deeply saddens Congress. He was a bridge between the State Congress and our leadership in Delhi.”

Marathi writer Shimrimant Kokate said Satav is a lowly leader and a man of his words.

NCP member Supriya Sule said the state had lost a young leader, who had a bright future. “He was an amazing friend, a colleague, and a younger brother. We have had several moments to reflect on social, legal issues. We have worked closely for five years. Rajeev was not only a prominent member of Parliament but also known for his personal qualities,” he said.

Supriya Sule and Rajiv Satav in Parliament in 2014. (Express Archive / Anil Sharma)
BJP leader and former prime minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “Satav was not limited to his party when he made friends. He made friends outside of his group. He was very educated, a future leader, and we often met and talked about things that affected the community. His death is truly tragic.”

MPCC official Nana Patole said, “For my party and me, the death of Satav is a great tragedy and irreparable loss. The space left by his death will be difficult to fill. I lost my friend, my brother.”

Satav was being treated at a private hospital in Pune after being diagnosed with Covid last month and was receiving respiratory support. After recovering from Covid, he was diagnosed with Cytomegalovirus, and his condition worsened.

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