Mayors and leaders of the civic bodies Saturday called off their dharna outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence after 13 days. The protesters, who were on an indefinite hunger strike since Thursday, were offered juice by Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
“These mayors and leaders were not on protest for themselves or the party. They were protesting because dues of Rs 13,000 crore has not been given and salaries of sanitation workers and other employees of municipal corporations are affected…,” said Puri, expressing regret that Kejriwal did not meet the protesters even once.The agitation will continue in other forms, he said, and hoped “Kejriwal will have a change of heart” and find a solution to the problem.
The decision was taken as the health of the protesters, including mayors of South and North MCDs Anamika Mithilesh and Jai Prakash, deteriorated as they were protesting in the open, said Delhi BJP media cell head Navin Kumar. Three women councillors, including former South Delhi mayor Sunita Kangra, were hospitalised Friday. The mayors also fell sick and were recommended hospitalisation Saturday, he said.
On Friday, the Delhi High Court had said authorities, including Delhi Police, need to pass orders asking the mayors and councillors to vacate the spot outside the CM’s home, and take action in accordance with the law in case they do not comply. Police Saturday also sent a notice to the North Delhi mayor, asking him to end the strike.
Reacting to the move, senior AAP leader Durgesh Pathak said BJP is indulging in “drama” to “distract attention of citizens of Delhi from their Rs 2,500 crore scam”.
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