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Name: Maken, Ajay
Current Position:


Ajay Maken has served as the Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Allevation since October 28, 2012.

Born in 1964, Maken comes from a family with a long legacy in public life — first in the independence struggle and then in politics. Maken's grandfather, Om Prakash was arrested and jailed by the British for his role in India's Independence movement. Maken’s father Satya Prakash Maken was a Congress party activist, as was his uncle Lalit Maken. Both men died very young. Satya Prakesh, a member of Delhi's Metropolitan Council, died at 26 in a traffic accident. Lalit's death was considerably more controversial. While he was still a young MP, in 1985, Lalit, along with his wife, were shot dead by Sikh gunmen who suspected him of instigating Anti-Sikh riots in 1984. (The riots, in which thousands of Sikhs lost their lives, followed the assassination of prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguard.)

Lalit’s death pushed young Ajay Maken into politics. He won the Delhi University Students’ Union election and then went on to become a general secretary of the Youth Congress. He rose swiftly in politics: he was a three-time member of Delhi’s legislative assembly (MLA), a transport minister in the Delhi government, and also at 39, the youngest speaker of a state (Delhi) assembly. In 2004, he contested in the General Elections for the first time and won a seat in the Parliament, which he retained in the 2009 elections.

During the first term of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the center (2004-2009), he had prominent roles in the Congress Party, while also becoming the Minister of State for Urban Development on January 1, 2006. In the UPA’s second term, he served as Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs from May 29, 2009 to January 19, 2011 and the Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs from January 19, 2011 to October 28, 2012

As a minister, his efforts at reforms, especially in the Sports Ministry, have often drawn the ire of fellow ministers and partymen. He has often projected himself as someone not afraid to speak his mind, although this attitude has rarely produced the desired result. While Sports Minister, his efforts to rein in the powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India drrew opposition from Sharad Pawar, the Agriculture Minister and former BCCI chief, and likely cost him his job. A letter to the Prime Minister signed by him said former Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Mani Shankar Aiyar had played “an obstructionist role” in the preparations for the Commonwealth Games. Aiyar, who attended the well-regarded Delhi University college, St. Stephens responded by pulling rank on Maken, who attended a prestigious college at Delhi University. "Firstly, we have to establish the authenticity of this letter," he said. "It contains words like 'dichotomous' which I cannot believe that a BA Pass from Hansraj College would know. So, is this really a letter written by him or somebody else cooked it up."

Now, Maken, in charge of the Housing Ministry, is working on a bill to enact stricter regulatory reforms on India's real estate market, where misleading advertising and outright fraud are pervasive.

Official Biography




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