The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is preparing for the second edition of Kashi Tamil Sangamam (KTS 2.0) in Varanasi ahead of the 2024 polls, aiming to bring together 1,500 people from Tamil Nadu. Despite the proximity to the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP insists that it is not an election campaign but rather a cultural exchange program. KTS 2.0 aims to strengthen the historical ties between Varanasi and Tamil Nadu, emphasizing the people-to-people connection.
Scheduled to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi on Sunday, the event is seen as an effort to enhance the “Modi factor” in Tamil Nadu, according to BJP leaders in the state. They express the hope that Tamil Nadu can witness development similar to Varanasi under the right leadership.
In contrast to the previous edition in 2022, KTS 2.0 is expected to be a more concise event, as stated by the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M), the implementing agency for the program. The first set of trains carrying participants from Chennai to Varanasi is set to depart on December 15 and will be inaugurated by Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi and Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, L. Murugan, according to M. Nachiappan, BJP’s state president for the spiritual and temple development wing.
Following the Kashi Tamil Sangamam in 2022 and the Saurashtra Tamil Sangamam in April of the current year, KTS 2.0 is the third cultural exchange program organized under the Modi government’s ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’ initiative. The initiative aims to promote unity in diversity, emphasizing the similarities between different states in the face of divisive politics based on regional differences. BJP workers are actively involved in KTS 2.0, considering it as part of the party’s activities to bring the central government’s initiatives to the people, according to Nachiappan.