Hours after joining BJP leader Sambit Patra and others on a TV debate, Congress spokesperson Rajiv Tyagi passed away. Reportedly, he had been feeling unwell and had collapsed at his residence soon after. He was rushed to the hospital, but doctors were unable to revive him. He would have turned 54 next month.
As news of his demise broke, many took to social media platforms expressing shock. Condolences poured in from all quarters and leaders from different parties, and Sambit Patra recalled in a Twitter post that the two had just faced each other in a virtual debate.
Calling him a "friend" Patra said that he could not belive Tyagi was no longer with us.
"We also debated together on Aaj Tak's debate show together at 5. Life is very uncertain," he wrote.
But what exactly was discussed in this debate?
The topic was the recent Bengaluru riots, and in a clip that's now going viral, Patra can be seen launching a scathing and slightly personal attack on the Congress leader. "Hamare ghar ke jaichando ne ghar ko loota hai,' Patra can be heard saying. He exclaims that while "they are burning houses, here this jaichand (traitor) was shying away from taking names".
"By applying a tika, you don’t become a true Hindu," he adds, even as Tyagi can be seen trying to respond.
Following his death, many have criticised the debate, both for the "horrible personal attack" and for nature of the chaotic, "screaming debates" as a whole.
Many on Twitter have been blaming Patra for possibly contributing to his distress, while some went a step further calling for his arrest.