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Manjhi announces return to NDA ahead of Bihar polls

The party had earlier in the day said that it will become part of the ruling coalition on Thursday, but the announcement was made this afternoon itself by Manjhi at a peess conference he held at his residence here.

Patna: Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Wednesday announced that his Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) has joined NDA in Bihar where assembly elections are due in October-November.

The party had earlier in the day said that it will become part of the ruling coalition on Thursday, but the announcement was made this afternoon itself by Manjhi at a peess conference he held at his residence here.

“After my party took the decision to pull out of Grand Alliance, my cadre had authorised me to take a call on the future political move, about which you all were very curious.

“Initially, I had planned to make the announcement on September 03. But then I had second thoughts and decided that good things must not be delayed”, he said.

It was not yet clear as to when and how Manjhis formal induction into the ruling coalition is going to materialise though sources in the JD(U) said that the HAM chief may meet Kumar Thursday before modalities are decided.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar which so far had BJP, JD(U) and the LJP as its constituents will now have another dalit-centric party HAM as a member.

The former chief minister said he will be joining hands with his former mentor and present incumbent Nitish Kumar, but insisted that his party was not going to “merge” into the Janata Dal (United) headed by the latter.

Manjhi underscored that his return to the NDA was “bina kisi shart ke” (without any preconditions) and added “I am not going to answer any questions as to how many seats our party is going to demand in assembly polls”.

Manjhi had met Kumar last week and since then speculation was rife about his return to the NDA, but media reports suggested the delay was on account of a final agreement on the number of seats the HAM gets in the upcoming polls.

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