Satyabhama Das insists on the return of moral standards in Indian politics. At 110, she is arguably the oldest voter in the country.
"In the past, politicians put honesty above all else. Sadly, things have changed now," Satyabhama told dna at her Guwahati residence on Sunday. "There has been a steady decline of moral standards and values in Indian politics."
"I have seen (former Assam chief minister) Gopinath Bordoloi and a whole lot of noted politicians.They were honest and upright. Gone are those days now. There isabsolute dishonesty and greed in the political system now," lamented Satyabhama, who regularly watches news on TV. "Political parties are not bad. It is the individuals, they've become corrupt."
Born in 1904 in undivided India's Habiganj, now in Bangladesh, Satyabhama migrated to Assam in 1954 along with her husband and five children — four daughters and ason. Her husband, Nikunja Bihari Das, was a freedom fighter and alawyer, who died in 1964. The eldest of the children, a daughter, would have been 90-year-old if she were alive.
Satyabhama lives with her second eldest child, Saraju Das, an educationist. Saraju retired as the principal-in-charge of the prestigious Handique Girls' College in Guwahati in1994. Saraju said her parents have been Congress supporters all along.
"Maa is peeved with the Congressthough after news of the series of scams under UPA-II," said Saraju. "Of all the Indian prime ministers, she loved Indira Gandhi the most. So, she wants someone, who is very strict, to become the next prime minister."
Satyabhama is considerably healthy given her age. She does not suffer from any major ailment. Her staple diet consists of rice, daal and fish curry etc. Saraju said her mother is also a football buff.
Satyabhama has exercised her franchise in every election since 1957. "I will cast my vote on April 24(when Guwahati goes to polls) if my health permits," she said,without revealing who she will vote for. "That's a secret."
Facts and Figures
Income of Rs 725 but assets worth Rs 58 crore
A dynast politician in Andhra Pradeshhas declared taxable income of just Rs 725 even though his assets areworth Rs 58 crore. T Veerender is the son of Devender Gowd, a formerhome minister in Chandrababu Naidu's Andhra Pradesh government.
The 31-year-old MBA from Boston hasshown that his annual income is just Rs 725, and that of his wife,Divyasri, is just Rs 610. "I live in a joint family and am inpolitics so I don't have any income at all. I don't have even a carin my name," said Veerender, who has large tracts of land.