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DEHRADUN: Former Miss India contestant Anukriti Gusain, who has been fielded by the Congress from Lansdowne for the February 14 Uttarakhand assembly polls, on Wednesday said she wants to serve her constituency as a daughter and not as a politician.

“Lansdowne is my home. I was born and brought up here. As I make my political debut, I want to serve my home as a daughter rather than as a politician,” Gusain, who is the daughter-in-law of former cabinet minister Harak Singh Rawat, told PTI in an interview.

Rawat was recently dismissed from the state cabinet and expelled from the BJP.

He later joined the Congress along with his daughter-in-law.

On her apolitical background, the software engineer said she considers herself lucky that she has the experience of different fields which have only helped educate her and build her personality.

My participation in the Femina Miss India beauty pageant as its youngest contestant at 18 years has given me confidence and the ability for public speaking – qualities that make me better equipped for a career in politics, she said.

Asked about the roadmap of development she has for her constituency, she said creating better health facilities and connectivity are the two segments she plans to focus on if elected.

“I have been active in Lansdowne and have a first-hand knowledge of the problems plaguing the area, including poor healthcare facilities, lack of proper roads and mobile connectivity network.

“At a time when we are talking about things like digital India, it is appalling to see the condition of basic facilities like mobile towers, hospitals, roads and schools in Lansdowne. Women are dying in labour. I want to change all that,” she said.

The software engineer-turned-politician, who runs an NGO named ‘Mahila Utthan Bal Kalyan Sansthan’ in Lansdowne, said she wants to help the daughters of Uttarakhand by imparting them new skills and equipping them to avail self-employment opportunities.

“People in Lansdowne are looking for change as the present MLA has done nothing for the constituency for the last ten years,” she said.

She said she feels proud and privileged to be the daughter-in-law of a seasoned politician like Harak Singh Rawat who keeps guiding her and motivating her for public service.

On the protest against her candidature from within the party by disappointed ticket aspirants, Gusain said it is the sole prerogative of the party high command to decide candidates for seats.

“The disappointment of potential contenders from the seat is only natural. But the ticket has to go to one person only. If I was in their place, my reaction too would perhaps have been similar. But now that the decision has been taken by the party high command, we should respect it and unitedly work to keep the party flag flying,” she said.

Reports said her father-in-law was expelled from the BJP when he allegedly insisted on a ticket for both himself and Gusain, a charge denied by the leader.

Rawat was one of the 10 MLAs who left the Congress to join the BJP in 2016, which led to the toppling of the Harish Rawat-led government in the state.