Neela Satyanarayan, Maharashtra’s First Woman Election Commissioner Dies Due To COVID-19

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Maharashtra is mourning the death of its first woman chief election commissioner, Neela Satyanarayan. She lost her life to COVID-19 on Thursday. Neela was also a celebrated author, poet and newspaper columnist who passed away in Seven Hills Hospital in Mumbai at age 72. Satyanarayan is also the first IAS officer in the state to succumb to COVID-19.

The acclaimed Marathi author is famous for writing several books, penning over 150 songs and also composing music for some films. After retirement, she was appointed as the state’s Chief Election Commissioner. She is the recipient of several awards in the fields of literature and culture. Satyanarayanan has two children. She has written about her experience of motherhood in a memoir titled, One Full, One Half.

The former IAS officer (1972 batch) was admitted to the hospital after she showed symptoms of the highly infectious disease and later was diagnosed as COVID-19 positive. After undergoing treatment for two-weeks, she passed on around 4 pm, on Thursday, a BMC ward officer said, Mumbai Mirror reported. The ward also notified that “no family member was available to conduct the last rites” so her funeral was taken up by a 15-member BMC team and five cops at the Oshiwara crematorium. According to reports, her husband Pillashetty Satyanarayan, who is in the intensive care unit, and her son Chaitanya are diagnosed with COVID-19 as well and admitted to Seven Hills.

What You Should Know

  • Former Maharashtra Election Commissioner Neela Satyanarayan died due to COVID-19 on Thursday.
  • Neela Satyanarayan is the first IAS officer in Maharashtra to pass away due to coronavirus infection. She was 72.
  • Satyanarayana was the first woman commissioner of the Election Commission in Maharashtra.

Her daughter Anuradha Prabhudesai, who is now isolated in a private hospital in Dadar, said, “My mother’s health deteriorated over the past seven days. I could not even see her in hospital.” According to her doctors, Satyanarayana had pre-existing kidney and lung ailments.

Satyanarayana gave up the reign of an Additional Chief Secretary of Revenue department in 2009 to serve as the election commissioner of Maharashtra before retiring in 2014.

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Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari said that “we have lost a dedicated officer and socially responsive thinker.”

“Smt Neela Satyaranayana was an outstanding officer, a prolific writer, a courageous mother, and a social thinker. She discharged every role in her career and life with absolute dedication, positive attitude and passion. In her demise, we have lost a dedicated officer and socially responsive thinker. I pay my deepest respects to the memory of late Smt. Satyanarayana and pray God to give her family strength to bear the great personal loss,” the Governor said in a statement, reported Times Now.

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Maharashtra is the worst-hit state by the novel coronavirus in the country. As of Thursday, the state had reported 2,75,640 infections, including 10,928 deaths, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Feature Image Credit: Divya Marathi

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