Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Satav succumbed to COVID-19 complications on May 16, 2021, in Jahangir Hospital in Pune. He is survived by his wife, and two children aged 11 and 16 years old.
47-year-old Rajeev Satav was very close to the Gandhi family, particularly Rahul Gandhi.
Satav was admitted to Jahangir Hospital on April 23, 2021, with severe pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome, both caused by COVID-19.
His RT-PCR swab had come back as negative on May 9, 2021. However, after prolonged illness, Satav succumbed to secondary pneumonia with multi-organ dysfunction in the early morning of May 16, 2021.
Rajeev Satav was in charge of the Congress party in Gujarat and a permanent invitee to the Congress working committee – the highest decision-making body of Indian National Congress.
Multiple leaders of the Congress party shared their condolences on the passing of the stalwart.
Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi sharing condolences, said that the demise of Rajeev Satav is a personal loss to her.
“Rajeev Satav was only 46 years old when he rose from the ground-level to holding much responsibility in a short duration of time. All due to his unfailing dedication, sincerity and hard work. He championed for the people and fought for the idea of the constitution. He was a rising star in the Congress party. The entire party mourns his loss. We pray for his family to have the strength to face the days ahead with courage,” Sonia Gandhi said.
Rahul Gandhi shared on Twitter, “I’m very sad at the loss of my friend Rajeev Satav. He was a leader with huge potential who embodied the ideals of Congress. It’s a big loss for us all. My condolences and love to his family.”
I’m very sad at the loss of my friend Rajeev Satav. He was a leader with huge potential who embodied the ideals of the Congress.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) May 16, 2021
It’s a big loss for us all. My condolences and love to his family. pic.twitter.com/mineA81UYJ
Satav's political journey
Rajeev Satav started his political career in the local body elections. He was first elected to the block Pancyahat, and then the district panchayat.
Satav was appointed the Maharashtra Congress youth president in 2010 during which Rahul Gandhi was the General Secretary of the Youth Congress. As part of the talent hunt program under the party, the both of them got the opportunity to interact.
When Rahul Gandhi took Satav’s interview for the position of All Indian Youth Congress president, he was very impressed by Satav's knowledge of local Panchayat, rural schemes and his humble nature.
After being appointed as the president of the All Indian Youth Congress in 2010, he took on the mantle of being president of the Youth Congress from February 2010 to December 2014.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Rajeev Satav and former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan were the only two people from Maharashtra who were elected in the 16th Lok Sabha elections. Satav was elected from the Hingali Lok Sabha constituency.
“The Hingoli Lok Sabha constituency was represented by NCP MP and minister for state Suryakanta Patil, but Satav insisted contesting from the same constituency. On the other hand, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and his candidate were reluctant to leave this constituency for Satav. But Rahul Gandhi requested NCP chief Sharad Pawar to leave the Hingoli constituency for Satav and offered Ratnagiri constituency in its place -- despite leaving former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Barrister AR Anthule who hailed from Ratnagiri miffed.
Such was the bond between Rahul Gandhi and Rajeev Satav. Rajeev Satav won in the Lok Sabha elections in 2014 by 1600 votes amidst the Modi wave. It was a tough seat to win. Since then he never looked back,” said Sachin Sawant, Congress spokesperson.
NCP minister Jitendra Awhad said that Rajeev Satav used to call him regularly.
“Rajeev was a hardcore Congressman, committed to the secular ideology, and against fascist parties like BJP. He used to call me lovingly ‘Boss’ and ‘Dada’. While forming the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, Rajeev played a major role in convincing the Congress central leadership. He wanted Congress, NCP and Sena to form the government in Maharashtra. I cannot believe that Rajeev has left us so early,” Awhad said.
Maharashtra Congress general secretary Sachin Sawant in his emotional blog added that he worked with Rajeev Satav while they were in the youth Congress together. He highlighted his organizational skills and praised him for his humility.
A sense of vacuum has been left in the Congress party with the passing of Rajeev, the in-charge of Maharashtra Congress party, HK Patil added.