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Civic body mayors call off dharna near Kejriwal's residence after 13 days

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New Delhi, Dec 19: The dharna launched by the mayors and other leaders of the BJP-ruled municipal corporations of Delhi in front of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal''s residence was called off after 13 days on Saturday.

Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri serves juice to protestors agitating outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwals residence

The protesters, who were on an indefinite fast for the last three days, were offered juice by Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta and the co-incharge of the party''s city unit, Alka Gurjar.

"These mayors and leaders were not protesting for themselves or the party, they were protesting because dues of Rs 13,000 crore have not been paid and the salaries of the sanitation workers and other employees of the municipal corporations are affected," Puri said.

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The agitation demanding the Rs 13,000 crore dues from the Delhi government will continue in other forms, he said and hoped that the chief minister will have a "change of heart" and will find solutions to the problems being faced by people.

The decision to call off the dharna came amid a deteriorating health condition of the protesters, including many women councillors, protesting in the open during the cold wave, Delhi BJP''s media cell head Navin Kumar said.

Three women councillors including former South Delhi mayor Sunita Kangra, who sat on the fast, were hospitalised on Friday. North Delhi Mayor Jai Prakash and South Delhi Mayor Anamika Mithilesh also fell sick and were recommended hospitalisation on Saturday, Kumar said.

Puri expressed regret that Kejriwal did not meet the protesters even once during their 13-day dharna.

The mayors and a few senior leaders of the three municipal corporations launched the indefinite hunger strike at the protest site on Thursday to demand the release of the Rs 13,000 crore from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government.

Speaking in the Assembly on Friday, the chief minister said even courts have said the Delhi government has paid all dues to the civic bodies.

The police sent a notice to North Delhi Mayor Jai Prakash on Saturday, asking him to end the hunger strike and leave the dharna site near the chief minister''s residence in the Civil Lines area.

"It has been more than 11 days since you have been sitting on a dharna near the CM''s residence and you, along with others, have already been read over, explained and given a copy of the order of the Delhi High Court dated August 22, 2017 regarding procession/dharna in the Civil Lines area by the SHO, Civil Lines," the notice stated.

It asked the protesters to vacate the site and move to a designated site if they wanted to continue with the dharna.

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