Ranchi: After joining the BJP, former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi on Monday asked the minority community not to "fear" the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and called upon party workers to drive out the horror from their minds.
Marandi said the CAA is for Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Buddhists and Parsis who had faced persecution for several years in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and there was no reason for the natives to fear it.
"The politics in the country over CAA is instilling fear. I tell the minority community, there is nothing to fear. It is our responsibility to remove the fear from their minds," Marandi said at the "Milan Samaroh" (merger ceremony).
The JVM(P) merged with the BJP on Monday, giving stimulus to the saffron party smarting from defeat in the November-December 2019 state assembly polls.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president J P Nadda were present on the occasion.
Marandi, the chief minister of Jharkhand from November 2000 to March 2003, said he toured several places in the last 14 years, travelling 6 to 7 lakh km, "and what I experienced is that leadership is confined to family with political parties having no ideology".
"Only the BJP is a worker-based party and an ideology-based party. So my 'pasand' (likeness) is towards it, so I returned," Marandi said.
Asserting that his decision to return to the saffron party was not sudden, Marandi said the BJP leaders had been in touch with him ever since he left the party in September 2006.
"But due to my zidd (stubborness), I did not return. Amit Shah ji had even sent an emissary, Sunil Tiwari, during Rajya Sabha polls, asking me to return, but I refused," Marandi said.
To media queries on what position he expected to hold in the BJP, he said, "Even when I joined politics I never asked the party (for any position). Today also I assure that whatever responsibility the party gives me, even if asked for 'jhadoo laga ne ke liye' (sweeping), I will do it."
Taking a swipe at the Hemant Soren government in Jharkhand, Marandi said, "Governance on Twitter will not hold much time. The people will drive you out. The people want peace, as peace and progress go together."
He assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah that the BJP would be "stronger" with the merger of his Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) with the BJP.
Marandi is four-time former MP and also served in the cabinet of late Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He won the Dhanwar assembly segment on JVM-P symbol, winning for the first time after floating the party.
Pradip Yadav and Bandhu Tirkey have also won the November-December assembly elections on the same symbols.
Later, the two MLAs were expelled by the party for anti-party activities.