Former finance minister P Chidambaram and his family cast their vote at Tamil Nadu's Sivaganga constituency minutes after voting opened this morning. The former union minister's son Karti Chidambaram is fighting on a Congress ticket from Sivaganga.
"Our alliance will have a handsome victory. We are privileged to live in democracy. It's not something that every nation has. We should exercise our franchise. This election is not a referendum on me but it's about removing a fascist government," said Karti Chidambaram, who along with his father is being investigated by central agencies for alleged wrongdoing in taking foreign investments while P Chidambaram was finance minister.
"Every agency has been used to intimidate opponents," Karti Chidambaram told NDTV.
P Chidambaram had tweeted on April 9 that he expected raids soon at his homes in Tamil Nadu, alleging that the ruling BJP's intention was to "cripple the campaign" for the national election.
The former union minister's wife Nalini Chidambaram and Karti Chidambaram's wife Srinidi Rangarajan also cast their vote in Sivaganga this morning.
"We have to preserve our independence, sovereignty, democracy and self-respect. We have to fight false belief and superstition. We believe all religions are equal and all people are equal..." P Chidambaram told.
The second phase of the Lok Sabha elections began this morning under the shadow of multiple raids involving what the authorities say is a cash-for-votes scam in Tamil Nadu. Elections in 38 Lok Sabha and 18 assembly seats of the southern state are being held, though polling in the Vellore seat has been cancelled following huge cash haul by income tax officials.
Elections are also being held in 35 assembly constituencies in Odisha. 95 Lok Sabha seats across 11 states and one in the Union Territory of Puducherry are voting today, in which electoral fortunes of four union ministers and former prime minister HD Deve Gowda will be decided.
The counting of votes for the seven-phase election, which ends on May 19, will be held on May 23. Among the early voters were superstar Rajinikanth and Sushilkumar Shinde.
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