New Delhi: A successful commercial pilot with Air India then Indian Airlines Captain Satish Sharma gave up his career in 1983 at the age of 36 to join hands with his former air academy friend Rajiv Gandhi to help with the latest political pursuits .
Just a year later, Rajiv became prime minister after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, and Satish Sharma remained one of his closest aides.
Sharma would eventually become a Lok Sabha MP from constituency Rajiv Gandhis Amethi after his death in 1991, and then also represented Rae Bareli in 1999.
But Sharma, who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 73, has had a political life accompanied by controversy and scandal. He is described by his colleagues as someone who puts the reputation of the Gandhi family first, and someone who continued to be a loyalist to Congress until his last breath.
In a tweet on Thursday, Rahul Gandhi posted: “We will miss him.”
I am very sad when I heard about the destruction of Captain Satish Sharma.
My love and condolences to his family and friends.
We will miss him. pic.twitter.com/Ja3FgCoCwp
– Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 18, 2021
As Sharma turned her head and worked at a fairly low profile with Rajiv for several years, a wave of accusations in 1987 against Sharma and several others who were part of the Prime Minister’s team began to make life difficult for her.
Questions about Sharma’s sudden ‘wealth’ and luxurious lifestyle began to make the rounds as he built a private pool in his home.
Then, one after the other, like a falling dominoes, charges of corruption and controversial land deals emerged, including the purchase of a 10-hectare land on the Delhi-Haryana border for money that was much less than its market price.
Sharma, however, went on to argue that all of these allegations were merely a “tactic to weaken Rajiv Gandhi.”
In one interview to India Sot the magazine, a few days after the allegations surfaced, Sharma defended his spending: “For one thing, I was never exactly poor.”
“My grandfather, who raised me, was a millionaire in the 1950s and we still have family fortunes. “My wife is a children’s clothing stylist and runs two successful boutiques,” said Sharma, without trembling.
Sharma made an attempt to explain all his expenses, but was in no way apologetic to them.
“Yes, we are building a family-sized pool. And why not? Aside from my family property in Hyderabad, this is the only house we will own. “This is my only part of the rock,” he said.
Read also: Congressman Madhavsinh Solanki behind Rajivs without creamy push and Bofors key player
Won by Amethi, Rae Bareli
The controversy eventually disappeared, even when the country witnessed another assassination of Gandhi when Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in 1991.
Months later, in a by-election, Sharma emerged from the party as Amethi’s candidate and he won. He then joined the PV cabinet Narasimha Rao as minister of the Union of Oil and Natural Gas, a portfolio that remained with him from 1993 to 1996.
He was then elected to Lok Sabha by Amethi back in 1996, but lost the seat in 1998. He made a comeback being elected by Rae Bareli in 1999.
“He tried to empower workers during his tenure as oil minister. “He is also credited with bringing industrialization in a big way to Amethi,” said a party leader.
Sharma is also said to be the brain behind Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Academy a pilot training institute established in 1985 at Fursatganj Airfield in Amethi.
Sharma then went on to represent the Congress party in Rajya Sabha from 2004 to 2016 by Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and UP.
He was like an extension of the Gandhi family, he was so close to them, said Kishori Lal Sharma, Sonia Gandhis’s close aide to Rae Bareli.
He said he would not have met Sonia Gandhi today if it were not for the late Captain Satish.
If today, I am connected to Sonia ji in such a close capacity, it is because of him. He always encouraged young talent to join politics and enter congress, Sharma told ThePrint.
Another UP Congress leader said Captain Sharma’s rise was due to his closeness to Rajiv Gandhi, something of which he was well aware.
He knew that his main job was to serve the Gandhi family and protect them from any criticism. All the elections he won after Rajiv jis’s death were also in a way votes he got because of his closeness to the late prime minister, and he knew it, said a UP Congress leader who did not want to was mentioned by name.
UP Congress leader Jitin Prasada wrote on Twitter that Sharma was always warm and encouraging to his younger colleagues.
Sad to hear of the death of Captain Satish Sharma. Always warm and encouraging to his younger colleagues. He will lose.
May he be at peace. pic.twitter.com/hbiJMvAG7h
– Jitin Prasada (@JitinPrasada) February 17, 2021
Despite the controversy, Sharma continued to rise in politics until he was re-elected to Rajya Sabha by the party, after which he began to distance himself from public life.
He remained as active as he could until 2016. After that, his illness and general fatigue began to overwhelm him and he became temporary, another leader said.
Sharma had stayed in Goa for the past few years and died there Wednesday night. His body will now be brought to Delhi, where the final rites will be performed on Friday, his son Samir Sharma told PTI.
Read also: How Buta Singh, man stolen by Indira-Rajivs, continued to become a child of controversy
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