His death was as sudden as his rise. He lived in TV studios and he died in the TV studio. Congress spokesman Rajiv Tyagi was truly a product of TV and TV has taken his life.
Just before his death due to a cardiac arrest, he was live on a show with Aaj Tak anchor Rohit Sardana, and was taking on BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra. He fell unconscious during the debate, was rushed to the hospital but could not be saved.
A native of Western Utter Pradesh, Tyagi shot to fame after he called pro-BJP anchor Amit Devgun a ‘dalal’ during a live debate on CNN-IBN, a channel owned by Mukesh Ambani.
Devgun, who is dubbed as the Hindi version of Arnab Goswami tried to take advantage of Tyagi’s “misconduct” but the Congress spokesperson refused to budge. He did not tender an apology despite repetitive appeal from the members of the panel and the anchor himself.
In the times when politicians get recognition through TV debates, Tyagi’s ascendency in the world of news-debates surprised many, but those who know him say his straightforwardness and one liners filled with wit and tit for tat style paid off. He never shied away from calling a spade a spade.
He was a popular youth Congress leader in Western Uttar Pradesh in 1990s, said one of his colleagues. A post graduate in business administration, Tyagi was fond of designing Nehru Jackets. He donned jackets designed by him.
TV anchors accept that it was only Tyagi who had the art and the guts to shout down Sambit Patra, the most vocal BJP spokesperson. He was a perfect foil to Patra, recalled an anchor.
Though Tyagi was trying to climb up the ladder within the Congress hierarchy, he got prominence in the last few years only. He was appointed the official spokesperson of the Congress party recently. He was already serving the party as General Secretary at Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee. After the party’s defeat in 2019, not many spokespersons dared to take on BJP men, but Tyagi never cared. He was always ready to punch back at the BJP leaders.
A worshiper and a practitioner of Hinduism in personal life, Tyagi was a relentless defender of secularism on TV debates. A TV anchor who knew him in and out said Tyagi used to get up at 4 am in the morning and perform puja for the next two hours.
He was friendly, shared cordial relation with the BJP panelists also. He will be missed for diatribes against BJP spokespersons during the prime time debates. Rahul Gandhi very rightly described him as the “Babbar Sher” of the Congress party.