Importance of Kashi Tamil Sangamam for BJP in prelude to 2024 Lok Sabha Elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated the Tamil-Kashi Sangamam’s version 2 at the Namo Ghat in  his constituency, Varanasi. The Sangamam’s inaugural version was held in 2022. However, the event this year hold significance for the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha Polls. 

The Sangamam that talks about the North and South India, comes at a time when Opposition parties have insinuated a North-South divide after BJP’s Assembly election victories in three Hindi heartland states — Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan.

BJP does not hold governance in any southern state of India. They were usurped by Congress in Karnataka, and the grand old party also won the seat of governance in Telangana. In Tamil Nadu, BJP lost their ally AIADMK, a Dravidian party, and opposition to chief minister MK Stalin-led DMK. 

Even though BJP has hit out at the Opposition parties for the concept of a North South binary, the BJP has failed to make headway into any southern state despite all hype they create. 

Notably, the BJP-led NDA government also held a Saurashtra Tamil Sangamam in April in a bid to “bridge” the North-South gap. There has also been talk of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government considering a Tamil Ayodhya Sangamam since there is a town in the state called Ayodhyapattanam, corresponding to Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, the birthplace of Lord Rama, reports Indian Express

What is the Kashi Tamil Sangamam?

The event Tamil Kashi Sangamam sees people from Tamil Nadu being taken to Varanasi for visits, that also include local trips to Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad), and Ayodhya. In 2022, a total of 2,400 Tamil Nadu residents were brought to Varanasi in groups for visit. 

For this year’s event, the first batch of the Tamil delegation comprising a group of students from Tamil Nadu reached Varanasi on Sunday to attend the 15-day Sangamam.

Six more groups comprising teachers, professionals, spiritual leaders, farmers and artisans, writers, traders, and businessmen are also scheduled to arrive in the city.

What BJP hopes to benefit from the Tamil Kashi Sangamam?

The BJP has fallen short of creating a connect in the Southern states, noting that the saffron party lacks any links with stalwarts of significant social movements in Southern India. Therefore, the saffron party has been struggling to make headwinds into the hearts of Deccan plateau. 

The Hindi aspect has only tipped the scales against BJP in South, who has always believed in the classical aspect of Tamil language and refuses to accept Hindi, an Apabhramsa. Political leaders from southern India has often accused BJP of Hindi imposition. 

In the past, the BJP has made efforts to appropriate cultural and political icons in Tamil Nadu. While PM Modi often evoked revolutionary Tamil poet Subramaniya Bharathiyar — in 2021, he announced the Bharathiyar chair at the Banaras Hindu University — the BJP after coming to power nationally in 2014 made attempts to appropriate even Congress stalwart K Kamaraj, the former Tamil Nadu CM.

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Published: 18 Dec 2023, 07:57 PM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Tamil-Kashi Sangamam’s version 2 in Varanasi, his constituency. This event holds significance for the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha Polls. The Sangamam aims to bridge the North-South divide that has been insinuated by opposition parties after BJP’s victories in Hindi heartland states. The BJP has been struggling to gain a foothold in southern states and hopes to benefit from the Tamil Kashi Sangamam by creating a connect with the people of Tamil Nadu. The event involves taking people from Tamil Nadu to Varanasi for visits, including trips to Prayagraj and Ayodhya. The BJP has previously made efforts to appropriate cultural and political icons in Tamil Nadu, but has faced challenges due to language and cultural differences.

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