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Former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi returns to NDA ahead of Assembly polls

Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Wednesday joined the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), months before elections in the state. Nitish Kumar, his former bete noire, reportedly played a key role in bringing him back.

Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) was a key ally of Lalu Yadav and had contested the 2019 general election as part of the opposition alliance. However, it drew a blank as an RJD-Congress ally. In 2015, the party could only win one seat in the Assembly polls.

“We have forged an alliance with the Janata Dal (United) and have become a part of the NDA. There has been no discussion about seat-sharing in the Bihar assembly election,” Manjhi told reporters.

Over the past few weeks, he had been meeting Nitish Kumar, his one-time adversary and his reason for quitting the JDU. Manjhi ended his two-year partnership with Lalu Yadav and the Congress last month.

According to reports, Manjhi wants his party to contest around 15 to 20 of Bihar’s 243 seas, mostly in his home turf — Magadh region. Nitish Kumar is reportedly ready to give it around nine.