Vrindavan, 2017.10.14 (VT): Late Thursday evening the election commission announced that the first mayor of Mathura-Vrindavan Nagar Nigam must be from a scheduled caste.
The announcement adds more tension to the already-sensitive issue of the formation of the Nagar Nigam itself. The Mathura-Vrindavan Nagar Nigam was created earlier this year by merging the two separate cities of Mathura and Vrindavan. The merger has left many Vrindvan residents fearful that their independent cultural identity may be demolished.
Mathura has historically had a great deal of Buddhist and Islamic influence, while Vrindavan has been solely a Vaishnava city of temples. Sale of meat, eggs and alcohol is banned in Vrindavan, while these are legally sold in Mathura. This is just one of many concerns regarding the merger of the two cities, which needs to be handled with a great deal of sensitivity by the new mayor.
“It would have been better,” said one local resident, who preferred to remain anonymous, “if we could choose from people of all castes and religious backgrounds, evaluating them only on the basis of their individual merit and their ability to serve the needs of all. Unfortunately, those with money and connections are the ones who get the seats in the end.”
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