Raghunath Jha: a dedicated social activist

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New Delhi, Apr 6 (UNI) Raghunath Jha, who is well known for his social activities and development works, will be the third MP from Bettiah to get place in Cabinet after 30 years.

Mr Jha, a member of the 14th Lok Sabha from Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), has actively participated in student politics. He was also closely associated with former prime minister Chandra Shekhar.

Born on 9 August 1939 at Sitamarhi/Sheohar, Bihar, Mr Jha entered state Legislative Assembly in 1972 on a Congress ticket from his home constituency Sheohar. He has represented the constituency for a record 28 years.

In 1985 Mr Jha, 69, contested on a Janta party ticket after he was denied a Congress ticket. His decision was largely supported by the people of Sheohar who gave a slogan-"Hame Haanth Nahi Raghunath Chahiye, Shere Bihar Ka Saath Chahiye", (We want lion of Bihar Raghunath not the Congress).

In the same year he was elected as the leader of Janata party's Legislature party. In 1989 he was made the Chairman of Janata Dal Parliamentary board and unsuccessfully contested for the post of chief ministership in 1990 against Ram Sundar Das and Lalu Prasad.

Mr Prasad emerged the winner.

His political career has seen a lot of ups and down. In February, 2004 he joined the Lalu Prasad led-Rashtriya Janata Dal. On his return he said, "I had returned home as I felt suffocated in the Samata party and the National Democratic Alliance , both of which were trying to rope me in after I refused to join the JD(U).

Welcoming Mr Jha Lalu Yadav said: "It is like a bride returning to her parents's home after being continously harassed at in-laws home.

This was Mr Jha's second "homecoming" to Lalu's fold. After quitting the JD to be the state chief of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar's party, the Samajwadi Janata party, he rejoined the RJD again in 1994, only to part ways in 1998 over denial of a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha polls. Mr Jha became state Samata Party chief following his closeness to Nitish Kumar and was elected to Lok Sabha from Gopalganj.

Mr Jha, educated at Bihar University, Muzaffarpur (Bihar), has been well known for the development projects which he has taken in Sheohar. He was the one who was responsible for making Sheohar a district. He was actively involved in construction of Dubba Pul and Devkuli temple. He has been active in promoting education, helping rural people and handicapped children and other activities of social work.

Mr Jha, who used his free time by reading newspapers, watching TV and listening to classical music, has worked for the establishment of two secondary schools for girls, DC Inter College and a hostel for Dalits, constructing buildings for 5,000 Dalits under Indira Awas Yojana in Sheohar.

In his 36 years long political and social career,Mr Jha had held different posts. He was state minister from 1980 to 1983. In 1999 he elected to 13th Lok Sabha. From 2000-2004 he was member of Consultative Committee, Ministry of Mines and Minerals.

He was re-elected to 14th Lok Sabha in 2004. He was member of Committee on Agriculture, Railway Convention Committee, House Committee, Public Accounts Committee, Committee on Home Affairs in different period.

Mr Jha is married to Dev Karma Devi and has one son and one daughter. His son Ajit Kumar Jha is the member of Bihar Legislative Assembly from Sheohar.

UNI TEAM KK RP RK1935

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