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January 29, 1998


'Everyone is corrupt; I don't think there is anyone here who is good and fair and honest'

Satish Dharma PatilSatish Dharma Patil, 18, is doing his first year, BA, Raver village, Dhule, Maharashtra

You know, this is my first election -- the very first time I will be able to cast my vote. But I am not in the least excited about it. How can I be, when my name has not been included in the voters's list?

Of course, I want to vote. I think my vote will help the nation. I know there are people who will say I'm talking this way because this is my first election. But, believe me, it has nothing to do with that black dot they put on your finger. When one wants to bring a good government into power, every single vote matters. As yet, though, I am not fully sure which party I would like to vote for.

I would like to vote for someone who will do good things for the country and who will always keep the welfare of his people in mind as he takes each decision. But I don't think such a politician exists in India today. Everyone is corrupt; I don't think there is anyone here who is good and fair and honest.

But if I really had to choose, I think I would go for Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He is a good politician, and he loves his country. Comparatively, I think the Bharatiya Janata Party is better than any other party we have today. The Congress has only been weak and selfish. Their candidates never return to their constituencies after they are elected.

Nowadays, the political news depresses me to such an extent that I just quickly glance through that section of the newspaper. So I'm not really aware about what is happening. I think, instead, that it is better to concentrate on your own life and try to achieve certain goals for yourself.

I want to complete my degree, preferably in Jalgaon. One of my relations is teaching in the university there. And then, I'd like to get a job in Jalgaon. Today, you need money in order to live. And I don't think you can make that kind of money in a village. Of course, I will return here if I don't find a suitable job. I don't think there is a lack of money here -- it's just that Jalgaon is different -- more exciting.

My parents? Oh, my elder brother lives in the nearby town of Dhulia. I'm sure he'll look after them. And if I get a really good job, I might take them with me to Jalgaon.

There are people in this village, who have degrees but no jobs. I wish someone would do something about that. If these people get some kind of job, it will be great.

I had heard that Sonia Gandhi was going to come here. I wanted to go and see her; to see what her feelings were for this country. But since I had college to attend, I could not do so. It was most disappointing.

I know one thing for sure -- I will never ever enter politics; it is just not my cup of tea. You need to be a certain kind of person for that; if you want to do the job well, that is. I am just not that kind of person.

As told to Savera R Someshwar. Photograph: Jewella C Miranda

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