New Delhi: Congress party campaign panel chief Ajay Maken Wednesday filed his nomination papers from Sadar Bazar constituency for the Delhi assembly election.
"I am the chair of the campaign committee of the Congress party and the general secretary of the AICC (All India Congress Committee). I am contesting election from Sadar (Bazar assembly constituency)," said Maken.
The AICC general secretary submitted his nomination papers and declared his assets to the returning officer at Vikas Bhawan near the busy ITO intersection in central Delhi.
Maken is up against incumbent Som Dutt Sharma of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Praveen Jain of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in a constituency that was a Congress bastion for three consecutive terms until Rajesh Jain lost it to the AAP in the 2013 polls.
Although Maken would face Sharma and Jain in Sadar Bazaar, the largest wholesale market in the national capital, the Congress campaign chief said he was in a direct contest with BJP chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi, as well as the AAP's Arvind Kejriwal.
Visibly reluctant to project himself as the grand old party's chief ministerial candidate, Maken nonetheless said: "My direct fight is with Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal."
In his mainstream political career that spans over 21 years, Maken, 51, has won three elections to the Delhi assembly from Rajouri Garden and two to parliament.
Beginning his political journey as president of the Delhi University Students Union in 1985, he became the youngest member of the Delhi assembly in 1993 at the age of 29. In 2001, he was transport, power and tourism minister in the Sheila Dikshit cabinet.
Maken was elected to the Delhi Assembly in 1993 from Rajouri Garden and was re-elected in 1998 and 2003. He was sworn in as the youngest minister in Sheila Dikshit's cabinet in 2001. In 2003, he was elected the speaker of the assembly.
He first became MP in 2004, and was re-elected in 2009. He was thrice a part of the union council of ministers.
While setting out with much fanfare and hundreds of supporters to file his nomination papers, Maken addressed voters at his election office near Shastri Nagar metro station and claimed he had had a blemish-free career.
"I have performed well with a clean image..this is what I am going to the public with," he said with much confidence.
Maken is credited with privatising power distribution in Delhi and having the public transport system run on compressed natural gas (CNG), which earned Delhi the UN 'Clean City' award for the environment.