Mayors launch indefinite hunger strike in front of Delhi CM’s residence
Mayors of Delhi’s three municipal corporations — along with 22 other councillors — have gone on an indefinite hunger strike from Thursday outside the chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence Flag Staff Road residence to demand the release of Rs 13,000 crore to municipal corporations from the Delhi government. The mayors of the three municipalities have been camping outside the chief minister’s residence since December 7.
On Thursday, North Delhi Municipal Corporation mayor Jai Prakash, South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) mayor Anamika Mithilesh, East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) mayor Nirmal Jain along with standing committee chairpersons of the three civic bodies and 19 other councillors startedd their fast unto death.
Apart from this, the Delhi unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said that nearly 40,000 party workers had observed a one-day fast in support of the mayors and to demand that Rs 13,000 crore be released to the municipal corporations. The BJP workers observed fasts in 250 mandals (zones) under six parliamentary constituencies on Thursday.
Jai Prakash, mayor of north corporation, said that was the 11th day of the sit-in protest, but the CM has shown no interest in clearing the dues amounting to Rs 13,000 crore.
“We have decided to sit on an indefinite hunger strike outside the CM’s house to demand the due municipal funds. For the last 11 days, we have been sitting on a dharna outside the CM’s residence, but neither has he tried to meet us nor is he ready to listen to us,” Prakash said.
SDMC mayor Mithilesh said, “We will brave the cold and all other obstacles and keep sitting on our hunger strike. We will not go anywhere until the state government releases funds to the municipal corporation.”
According to municipal functionaries, of the Rs 13,000 crore (approx) dues, the north corporation is to get Rs 6,355 crore, for SDMC is to get Rs 4,125 crore and the EDMC is to receive Rs 2,985 crore from the state government.
Adesh Gupta, Delhi BJP chief, on Thursday morning also reached in front of the CM’s house where municipal leaders are sitting on their hunger strike and said that their fight was a fight for the rights of corporation workers.
“The mayors and leaders of the three municipal corporations are fighting for the rights of doctors, nurses, health workers, sanitation workers, teachers and every Delhiite, but it seems CM (Arvind) Kejriwal has no concern for the common people,” Gupta said.
The BJP leader also alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government was spending funds of municipalities on publicity but not giving it to civic bodies.
Hitting back at the BJP, the AAP later said in a statement, “Even the mayors of BJP-ruled MCDs know that their protest is only an excuse by their high-command to harass CM Arvind Kejriwal and distract from the issue of nationwide farmers protests. The mayors are well aware that Delhi government has given all the funds due and it is because of their corruption and inefficiency that the MCDs are facing financial ruin. Since they have decided to only protest rather then govern, it is best that they resign and let AAP run the MCDs. We will run the MCDs efficiently and within the same budget.”