Tribute: Rajeev Satav, a fighter to the end
Tribute: Rajeev Satav, a fighter to the end

With the untimely death of Rajeev Satav at 46, the Congress has lost a committed, hardworking and progressive member of Parliament. A Congress loyalist to core, Satav had a fighting spirit since college but was unfortunately, unable to emerge victorious in his battle against the virus. A close confidant of party MP Rahul Gandhi, Satav, until being infected by the virus in the last week of April, had been travelling extensively in Gujarat, where he was in charge of the rejuvenation of the Congress party to take on the mighty BJP there.

Even though the party faced a humiliating defeat in the recently held local body elections in Gujarat, Satav did not lose hope but kept up with his networking activities. Never the bombast but always the grassroots worker, he was confident about his party’s revival ahead of the next assembly elections in Gujarat.

From his beginnings as a gram panchayat member from the Hingoli district of the underdeveloped Marathwada region to becoming a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, moving on to the Lok Sabha and then becoming a member of the Rajya Sabha, Satav had come a long way.

Satav was appointed the Maharashtra Youth Congress president in 2010, at which time Rahul Gandhi was the general secretary of the Youth Congress. Frequent interactions with Rahul brought him quite close to the latter.

When Rahul Gandhi interviewed Satav for the position of the All India Youth Congress president, he was very impressed by Satav's knowledge of the local panchayat, rural schemes and his humble nature. Satav got the job and held the post till December 2014. He was a member of the state assembly from 2009-14.

Satav successfully weathered the Modi wave and was elected to the Lok Sabha in 2014 elections. He was one among those MPs who came well-prepared to Parliament and was part of the Rahul brigade, hogging the limelight during debates in the Lower House and also with his participation in dharnas and protests on the premises of Parliament.

He was soft spoken, well-mannered and articulate. Satav opted out of Lok Sabha elections held in May 2019 and the subsequent assembly polls in October 2019 in Maharashtra to devote his energies fulltime for the party organisation. Satav played a crucial role in the Congress party’s decision to share power with the Shiv Sena and the NCP in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government with the sole intention of keeping the BJP out of power.

He was later elected to the Rajya Sabha in September 2020 from Maharashtra. Satav, along with the Trinamool Congress, had staged a protest outside Parliament against their expulsion. He, along with other opposition MPs, had been at the forefront of the opposition to the passage of the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and the Farm Services Bill, 2020.

He was also one of those who hit out at the ‘Group of 23’ Congress members who wrote a letter criticising the leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

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Free Press Journal