New Delhi: Confident about winning her maiden election from the prestigious Greater Kailash Assembly constituency, President Pranab Mukherjee's daughter Sharmistha is going by her father's valued advice of putting in "hard work" and "being patient".
"My father only told me that when you have joined politics it's a tough road ahead and you really have to work hard and you have to be patient. I am just keeping these words in mind," Sharmistha, who is fighting on a Congress ticket, told PTI.
49-year-old Sharmistha is second among the three children of the President to join politics. Earlier, her elder brother Abhijit joined Congress, debuting from Nalhati Assembly constituency of West Bengal in 2011 and later became an MP from Jangipur Lok Sabha constituency which was vacated by his father after being elected as President.
The Greater Kailash seat was bagged by Aam Aadmi Party's Sourav Bharadwaj in the 2013 Assembly election by polling 43,097 votes against BJP's 30,005 votes. Congress had managed a third position with 19,641 votes.
However, Mukherjee said this time it will be a two-cornered fight between her party and BJP.
She said, "You know, wherever I am going people are asking me how are you going to counter the Modi wave, nobody asked me how are you going to counter Sourav Bharadwaj.
"Moreover, Greater Kailash has traditionally been a BJP strong hold. Out of the four wards in my constituency three are held by BJP. It was only in the last election that AAP won, but my observation says that this time the fight here will be a two-way contest between Congress and BJP."
Speaking about her timing of joining the party, Sharmistha said, "I think this is the time people who believe in Congress can truly come and do something for the party. I could have joined the party earlier when it was in power, but this is the time when we all can do whatever little in our own way."
Greater Kailash which has a sizeable Bengali population with CR Park being a part of it, Sharmishtha feels that this factor will obviously go in her favour.
"See I never took any calculative steps like this. I lived in the area for a long time so I started working here and the party also made me a candidate in this constituency," she said.
She added, "But obviously this will help me a lot. Delhi has a very huge Bengali population, but the community was never represented accordingly.... I am the first Bengali candidate (in Delhi), earlier there was a Bengali MP in only 1970s and later a candidate in the council elections."
Sharmistha, just like any other candidate, is criss-crossing her constituency leaving no stone unturned to reach out to voters.
From street corner meetings to door-to-door campaigns, the Congress candidate is mainly focusing on basic issues like better lighting, streamline parking issues, sanitation and garbage segregation.
Sharmistha, who is also an acclaimed Kathak dancer, said, "If your father is a famous person, you will only be known by that identity. I am really proud of that, but still I have an identity of my own.
"I know because of this identity I am getting all the media attention, but I also want people to know me because of my mother's legacy, who is a great singer, a good painter and I attribute all my artistic genes to her."
Sharmistha has been participating in events and rallies of the party for the last few months and was announced Congress candidate last week.
She will be facing BJP's Rakesh Gulia, who is also a new comer, and Aam Aadmi Party's Saurabh Bharadwaj on February 7 when Delhi goes to polls.