Sundar Pichai did not cast his vote in Tamil Nadu: Truth behind viral photo

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Sundar Pichai did not cast his vote in Tamil Nadu: Truth behind viral photo

India is in its second phase of polling for the Lok Sabha 2019 and social media is full of photos of celebrities and prominent public personalities casting their vote. One of the photos doing the rounds is of Google CEO Sundar Pichai, with captions saying he came all the way to Tamil Nadu to cast his vote.

Tamil cinema fans may recall that Vijay's Deepavali release Sarkar had the actor playing Sundar Ramasamy, a character modelled on the Google CEO, returning to Tamil Nadu just to cast his vote.

While the intention behind the posts may have been to encourage people to go out and vote, turns out the news is not true. Sundar Pichai is a US citizen, and cannot vote in India. So obviously, he did not come down to Tamil Nadu to vote.

He did tweet the photo, but that has been taken out of context and is being circulated.

The original photo is from two years ago. Sundar had shared it along with two other photos on Twitter when he visited IIT Kharagpur, his alma mater in West Bengal, in January 2017. He had addressed over 3,000 students and discussed India’s startup scene and digital economy. This was reportedly his first visit to the premiere engineering institute after he graduated from there in 1993.

Sundar was born in Madurai and pursued his school education in Chennai in Tamil Nadu. He went on to study at IIT Kharagpur and did an MS from Stanford University followed by an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania.

In south India, polling is presently underway in 14 constituencies in Karnataka and all 38 Tamil Nadu constituencies except Vellore, where elections were cancelled on Tuesday. The Election Commission had rescinded the poll for Vellore Lok Sabha constituency after the Income Tax department seized unaccounted cash from a cement warehouse allegedly belonging to a DMK functionary's relative. 

The seven-phase Lok Sabha elections started on April 11 and will conclude on May 19. Counting of votes will take place on May 23.