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Is Dr Manoj Jha the ideal socialist leader Bihar needs in the 21st century?
When I saw Dr Manoj Kumar Jha taking oath as a member of the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) from Bihar with a towel attached to his neck, I remembered two things.

First, Leon Trotsky, the great Russian revolutionary's words, "Everything is relative in this world, where change alone endures," and late Bhogendra Jha, the stalwart of communist movement in India in general and Bihar in particular. 

Madhubani and Saharsa are 150 kilometres apart. Both the places were ancient seats of learning and closely related to each other till 1934 when a major earthquake destructed and separated them. 

Bhogendra Jha, a rare gem of the Indian Parliament and upholder of the socialist values represented Madhubani three times in the Lok Sabha from 1967 to 1977, 1980 to 1984 and again from 1989 to 1996. He was a symbol of simplicity and always used to maintain high standards in public life. Even Atal Bihari Vajpayee who belonged from a completely different ideology always held Bhogendra Jha in high esteem. 

When Bhogendra Jha died in 2009, people believed that a generation of socialist/communist ideology had ended. The importance of Bhogendra Jha was more because he fought the splashiness of Mithila society in general and Jagannath Mishra in particular and was able to portray to the whole India the true essence of the progressive and liberal values of Maithil society. With his passing away everyone believed that nobody was left to show the modernist and anti-feudal values for which Mithila region stood for and the leadership was now in the hands of pseudo-progressive people. 

But with the entry of Dr Manoj Jha in the Indian Parliament many people believe that they have now got a 21st century Bhogendra Jha, who will only and only stand for the values enshrined in the preamble of the Indian Constitution. There  is no doubt that just like Bhogendra Jha, who was highly regarded within the political circles despite ideological differences, Dr Jha will also be held in high esteem by political parties. That became evident as when Dr Manoj Kumar Jha's name was announced for oath taking, there were loud cheers from both the opposition and the treasury benches. 

More interestingly, Dr Manoj Jha got elected from the Rastriya Janata Dal (RJD) whose initial political plank during the 1990s was anti-Brahmin or to be more precise anti-splashiness of the Brahmin society. It clearly signals a radical transformation in the thought process of the party with the needs of changing times. Anyone who knows Dr Manoj Jha knows his commitment to socialist and democratic values. He was one of the few mainstream politicians who stood with the Jawaharlal Nehru University students when the ruling government levelled sedition charges on them. Dr Jha is the example of intellectual brilliance and whatever he has achieved is through his dedication, devotion and determination. 

Now with the RJD giving him the much talked about Rajya Sabha seat for which many leading former cabinet ministers were in fray, it is now his responsibility to design the policies and agenda of the party on which the RJD will fight the upcoming parliamentary and Assembly elections in Bihar. 

Moreover, Manoj Jha will work as the go-ahead man for Lalu Prasad Yadav in Delhi. Yadav needs him big time as he hasn't had anyone since long to handle things in Lutyens Delhi unlike other regional parties which have at least one strong person to manage the permutations and combinations in the power corridors of Delhi. Dr Jha will also work as the guide for Tejashwi as the think-tank of the party. 

Those who know Mithila know that the Jagannath Mishra era of the 1970s-1980s totally devastated the intellectual brilliance of the region and made others believe that these people are third-graders and sycophants. I hope with the emergence of Dr Manoj Jha that idea will also go in the dustbin of history.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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