By Arré Bench Aug. 13, 2020
Congress spokesperson Rajiv Tyagi died of a heart attack. As the news broke, several handles blamed BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra for the Congressman’s death with his aggressive questioning during a debate on Aaj Tak that they’d both appeared on, a few hours prior. Soon after #ArrestSambitPatra began to trend.
In the latest bit of unfortunate news to grace timelines in 2020, Congress spokesperson Rajiv Tyagi died of a heart attack on Wednesday. He was 52 years old.
The leader appeared on a TV channel debate from his Ghaziabad home, hours before news broke of his death. Soon after the debate concluded, he began complaining of chest pain, and fell unconscious. He was declared dead at a hospital later that evening.
The sudden demise of the popular Hindi news spokesperson left Congress leaders heartbroken, with several of them tweeting their condolences. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the death came as a personal shock and would cause irreparable damage to the party.
Her brother Rahul said the Congress had lost a tiger in his tribute.
भारतीय राष्ट्रीय कांग्रेस के प्रवक्ता श्री राजीव त्यागी जी की असामयिक मृत्यु मेरे लिए एक व्यक्तिगत दुःख है। हम सबके लिए अपूर्णीय क्षति है।
राजीव जी विचारधारा समर्पित योद्धा थे। समस्त यूपी कांग्रेस की ओर से परिजनों को हृदय से संवेदना।
ईश्वर उनके परिवार को दुख सहने की शक्ति दें। pic.twitter.com/GpdsAeKwxo
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) August 12, 2020
कॉंग्रेस ने आज अपना एक बब्बर शेर खो दिया।
राजीव त्यागी के कॉंग्रेस प्रेम व संघर्ष की प्रेरणा हमेशा याद रहेंगे।
उन्हें मेरी भावभीनी श्रद्धांजलि व परिवार को संवेदनाएँ। pic.twitter.com/9C0SNuFFYK
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) August 12, 2020
As the Congress rushed to post condolences, however, a conspiracy was brewing on Twitter. As the news broke, several handles appeared to blame BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra for having given the Congressman a heart attack with his aggressive questioning during the Aaj Tak debate.
After abusing Rajiv Tyagi ji minutes before his death, Sambit Patra went on to the next TV debate to spread more poison.
Breaks my heart to think that Rajiv Tyagi ji’s last words probably were “Pls allow me to speak”.
Sambit Patra & Aaj Tak killed him. #ArrestSambitPatra
— Saket Gokhale (@SaketGokhale) August 12, 2020
And this wasn’t just a one-off statement. The hashtag “arrest Sambit Patra” soon began to trend on Twitter.
A clip of Tyagi looking uncomfortable during the debate was shared as proof that the cardiac arrest was a result of him not being allowed to speak. A number of clips showing the BJP spokesperson Patra at his aggressive best were also shared as evidence.
— Md Asif Khan (@imMAK02) August 12, 2020
The BJP spokesperson was also accused by several social media handles of being an expert at bullying and character assassination.
Below video is an example of Psychological Murder: Death By Covert Abuse.
Character assasination by a sociopath.pic.twitter.com/BPGBaQ1YDE
— Sufyan khan (@ClassySufyann) August 12, 2020
The level of debates on TV channels is getting worse day by day.@sambitswaraj has mastery to abuse people on live debates and I found him a joker but no he is something else…😡😡
— Ravindra Gautam (@RavindraGautam_) August 12, 2020
One member of the Congress party went on to urge Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi to consider boycotting all future debates, because of how they were spreading hatred.
Requesting Shri @RahulGandhi ji and @INCIndia senior leaders to kindly #BoycottTVdebates once again forever. No one likes to see such hatred. We demand Justice for #RajivTyagi ji 🙏🏻 #ArrestSambitPatra
— Gurpreet Kaur Chadha (@GurpreetKChadha) August 12, 2020
Some, on the other hand, let common sense prevail, and held back from blaming Patra. They instead argued that the very nature of TV debates had to change, and that panellists should be more respectful towards each other in the future.
Those blaming Sambit Patra for Rajiv Tyagi’s death are colossal fools. But we cannot deny that debates on Indian Media are vulgar,violent, virulent and full of yells & shouts. There is never any conclusion
In a casino,only the casino wins. In a news debate only the channel wins.
— Atul Mishra (@TheAtulMishra) August 12, 2020
I just visited my friend @RTforINDIA Rajiv Tyagi at his home & seeing him lifeless like this has shaken me. If anyone wants to pay true tribute to Tyagi bhai, just be calm & respectful towards each other. Destiny can’t be changed but format of debates need to change.I’ll miss you
— Jaiveer Shergill (@JaiveerShergill) August 12, 2020
These poisonous debates & shouting matches are killing people RIP Rajiv pic.twitter.com/srPibx0XBA
— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) August 12, 2020
Patra, meanwhile, tweeted his condolences for the Congress spokesperson as well, calling him a friend, and saying the news had left him speechless.
विश्वास नहीं हो रहा है कंग्रेस के प्रवक्ता मेरे मित्र श्री @RTforINDIA हमारे साथ नहीं है।
आज 5 बजे हम दोनो ने साथ में @aajtak पर डिबेट भी किया था।
जीवन बहुत ही अनिश्चित है …अभी भी शब्द नहीं मिल रहें
हे गोविंद राजीव जी को अपने श्री चरणो में स्थान देना🙏
— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) August 12, 2020
This is, of course, not the first time we’ve seen Twitter take matters into its own hands. Over the last few months, following the unfortunate death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, social media has been rife with allegations against Rhea Chakraborty and several big names in Bollywood. With allegations now hurled at Sambit Patra as well, hopefully social media doesn’t turn into a kangaroo court.