|Bidhu Shekhar Jha|
|Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba for Radisson|
|Preceded by||Marianne Cerilli|
|Born||Deoghar, Jharkhand, India|
|Political party||New Democratic Party|
Bidhu Shekhar Jha is a politician in Manitoba, Canada. He has been a member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba since 2003, representing the Winnipeg division of Radisson as a member of the New Democratic Party.
Private life and career
Jha was born in Deoghar, now a part of the Indian state of Jharkhand. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from BIT Sindri, and has taken post-graduate training in Industrial Engineering and Management. He moved to Canada in 1969 and founded Optimum Ergonomics Ltd. in 1978, specializing in office and computer furnishings. He later founded the Optimum Technology Corporation, specializing in international trade and business development.
Jha authored the screenplay for a full-length feature film entitled Namumkin (1988), telling the story of an Asian family exiled from Idi Amin's Uganda. He later served as president of Winnipeg's Indian Association, and led a flag-raising ceremony in 1997 to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of India's independence. In 2001, he organized a dinner for British Columbia Premier Ujjal Dosanjh to mark his selection as Canada's first provincial leader of South Asian background.
Jha served on the board of Manitoba Telephone System in 1986-87, and has also served on the boards of the Canadian Cancer Society and Deer Lodge Foundation. In 2002, he received a Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal and an Asia Pacific Award of Entrepreneurship from the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba. He was 63 years old as of 2006.
Jha ran for the Manitoba legislature in the 1999 provincial election, and lost to Progressive Conservative candidate John Loewen in the south Winnipeg division of Fort Whyte. The New Democratic Party won a majority government across the province. After the election, Jha was appointed to the Board of the Manitoba Crown Corporations Council. He later chaired a Taxi-Cab Safety Working Group, which was convened after five Winnipeg drivers were murdered over the course of ten years. He issued a report calling for the installation of safety shields, cameras and recording devices; safety shields were made mandatory in 2002.
Jha was elected for the northeast Winnipeg division of Radisson in the 2003 general election, as the NDP won a second consecutive majority government across the province. On November 4, 2003, he was appointed Legislative Assistant to the Minister of Energy, Science and Technology. The following year, he was named as Legislative Assistant to the Premier. He played an active role in securing repairs for the Prendergast Community Centre, and accompanied Premier Gary Doer on a trade mission to India in 2006.
Jha broke ranks with his government in 2005 to oppose the construction of a large hog-processing facility in the Radisson division. Many of his constituents were against the project, and Jha argued that the facility should be built outside of the city. In response to criticism, Premier Doer announced in 2007 that the plant would not be constructed.
|Manitoba general election, 2007: Radisson|
|New Democrat||Bidhu Jha||4,804||56.72||+4.27||$38,067.77|
|Progressive Conservative||Linda West||2,988||35.28||-3.85||$31,483.45|
|Liberal||Murray Cliff||677||7.99||-0.43||none reported|
|Total valid votes||8,469||100.00|
|Rejected and declined ballots||57|
|Electors on the lists||14,132|
|Manitoba general election, 2003: Radisson|
|New Democratic Party||Bidhu Jha||3,888||52.45||-2.57||$26,913.04|
|Progressive Conservative||Linda West||2,901||39.13||+6.17||$17,661.88|
|Total valid votes||7,413||100.00|
|Rejected and declined ballots||37|
|Electors on the lists||13,783|
|Manitoba general election, 1999: Fort Whyte|
|Progressive Conservative||John Loewen||6,480||61.73||$25,444.88|
|New Democratic Party||Bidhu Jha||2,815||26.82||$24,511.00|
|Total valid votes||10,497||99.38|
|Rejected and declined votes||66|
All electoral information is taken from Elections Manitoba. Expenditure entries refer to individual candidate expenses.
- Directory of Achievers: Mr. Bidhu Jha, Bihar and Jharkhand.com, accessed 4 September 2007.
- Paul Samyn, "Ethnic groups raise alarms over Reform", Winnipeg Free Press, 19 October 1993.
- Murray McNeill, "Ergonomics firm could be revived", Winnipeg Free Press, 2 October 1997, B8; Murray McNeill, "Businessman refuses to let bankrupt firm go", Winnipeg Free Press, 27 October 1997, B4; Bidhu Jha Caucus Page: Biography, New Democratic Party of Manitoba, accessed 4 September 2007.
- The film was directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee. See Suzanne Soto, "Young filmmaker tackles Hindu saga", Globe and Mail, 3 June 1988, E5.
- Bud Robertson, "Local East Indians mobilize for action", Winnipeg Free Press, 3 October 1993. Jha criticized the Reform Party of Canada in 1993 for its restrictive policies on immigration and multiculturalism, arguing that the party was pursuing short-term solutions in a dangerous manner. See Paul Samyn, "Ethnic groups raise alarms over Reform", Winnipeg Free Press, 19 October 1993.
- Nick Martin, "Celebrations mark 50 years of freedom for Pakistan, India", Winnipeg Free Press, 14 August 1997, A6. On this occasion, Jha was quoted as saying, "Democracy has survived with 17 official languages. There are a lot of similarities (to Canada) with diversity. We are trying to take the Gandhian approach. Being diverse doesn't mean we have to separate ourselves." He made similar remarks six years later, when he was sitting as a member of the legislative: "True Hindus consider the world their extended family and pray for the happiness of all. This manifested itself in my election campaign, in which I claimed the world as our jurisdiction and concern. To me, the most important aspects of the Hindu faith are social justice and democracy." See "Local Hindus celebrate Durga Puja a huge festival for believers", Winnipeg Free Press, 11 October 2003, E13.
- "Indo-Canadians putting on dinner for B.C. premier", Winnipeg Free Press, 6 August 2000, A3.
- Jha's departure from the MTS Board was precipitated by a minor controversy. He chose to resign after it was discovered that his company had sold $70,000 worth of office equipment to the MTS in 1985 and 1986. Premier Howard Pawley said that Jha was not in a conflict-of-interest situation, and he was not accused of any wrongdoing. The MTS rules were subsequently changed to ensure board members did not engage in business with the entity. See "Rules changed for phone firm", Globe and Mail, 5 March 1987, A4.
- "Manitoba Movers", Winnipeg Free Press, 8 July 2002, B7.
- "Patronage denied in losing candidate's appointment", Winnipeg Free Press, 25 January 2000, A6. Jha received $7,500 per year for the position.
- Mia Rabson, "Cabbies want security beefed up", Winnipeg Free Press, 6 March 2001, A3; "Winnipeg cabbies have to install surveillance cameras or get yanked off road", Canadian Press, 24 June 2002, 18:02.
- He defeated Chad Samain to win the NDP nomination. See David O'Brien, "Race heating up in Wolseley", Winnipeg Free Press, 13 March 2003, A5.
- Bidhu Jha Caucus Page: Biography, New Democratic Party of Manitoba, accessed 4 September 2007.
- Jen Skerritt, "Funds for roof replacement put centre's fear of closure to rest", Winnipeg Free Press, 13 July 2005, B4.
- "Premier of Canadian province to lead trade mission to India", The Press Trust of India Limited, 7 February 2006.
- Mary Agnes Welch, "NDP MLAs break ranks, demand hog-plant delay", Winnipeg Free Press, 23 November 2005, A1; Bartley Kives, "A fair wind blows on Franco", Winnipeg Free Press, 20 January 2006, B1.
- "Riding to victory 12 key areas to watch this election", Winnipeg Free Press, 21 April 2007, A6; Mia Rabson, "Battle is fierce for NDP 'safe seat'", Winnipeg Free Press, 20 May 2007, A9.