‘Stick to the path of righteousness and dharma’
Naresh Gupta (Photos: Rathan Kumar)
Former Chief Electoral Officer of Government of Tamil Nadu, Naresh Gupta, appealed to the electorate not to be influenced by money, liquor, gifts, or the caste factor while casting their vote in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
“Vote for honest candidates. If you don’t find any in the list, then exercise the NOTA (None of the above) option,” said the 1973 batch IAS officer, addressing The Weekend Leader’s Friends of Positive Journalism (FPJ) Conclave in Coimbatore last week.
Gupta interacted with the students of Rathinam College, where the event was held, and urged them to adhere to the path of truth at all times.
“Stick to the path of righteousness and dharma. Be a Good Samaritan. Shun negative thoughts. Do not fight over caste or religion. We are all part of the same universal brotherhood,” Gupta told the students and the FPJ members.
The Weekend Leader's Consulting Editor Sam Rajappa administering the oath of office to FPJ Chairman Madan A Sendhil and his team
Gupta had a word of praise for Rathinam College’s voter education campaign. The college has launched ‘Voter Express’, a special bus that has been going around Coimbatore to spread awareness among the people on the importance of voting.
Gupta made an audio-visual presentation on ‘Democracy, Elections and Good Governance.’
He said the advantage of NOTA option was the privacy it gives a voter who does not want to vote for any candidate.
He said before NOTA was introduced those who did not wish to vote for any candidate had to make an entry in a register. “Agents of political parties present in the booth would come to know about it. They might question the voter later, ‘how dare you refrain from voting’,” he said.
However, he said that even if NOTA got the majority votes, the candidate who polls the highest number of votes would be declared the winner.
“NOTA is just a message to political parties to field better candidates,” he said.
With the memento: From l: U Karunanithi, P Saravanaraja, Madan A Sendhil, Naresh Gupta, Sam Rajappa, P C Vinoj Kumar
Gupta, who is now Member, Madras Bench, Central Administrative Tribunal, said The Weekend Leader’s stress on positive journalism reminded him of the cardinal principle of Brahma Kumaris, who urge their followers to shun negative thoughts.
He said the media generally focuses on politics, crime and other news and does not give importance to stories on development, good governance, ethics and morality.
Senior journalist and Consulting Editor of The Weekend Leader, Sam Rajappa, administered the oath of office to Dr. Madan A Sendhil, who took charge as Chairman, FPJ (2014-15).
In his acceptance speech, Madan said he along with Rathinam College would do everything possible to take the FPJ forum to the next level.
FPJ is a forum of subscribed readers and supporters of the magazine with a social vision that includes promoting unsung heroes and change agents as role models among the youth in the country. Every year, a new team of office bearers are appointed to the forum at the FPJ Conclave.
FPJ team with the Chief Guest and Editors
Madan, who is Chairman, Rathinam Group, Coimbatore, said he has picked an American citizen as one of the members of the committee that would be assisting him in the campaign to add more subscribed readers to The Weekend Leader.
U Karunanithi, Director, Outreach, The Weekend Leader, felicitated P Saravanaraja, the outgoing FPJ Chairman (2013-14) for his outstanding service last year.
In his speech Saravanaraja said he had accepted the assignment last year because being a positive minded person he liked the concept of The Weekend Leader that focuses primarily on positive news and features.
The Weekend Leader’s Founder Editor P C Vinoj Kumar said The Weekend Leader was only occupying a niche space in the media and focusing on positive news. “We bring to the spotlight those who work for people’s causes silently without looking for publicity or attention,” he said.
Earlier, Professor V M Vadivelu, head of science and humanities department, Rathinam College, extended a warm welcome to the audience and set the tone for the day’s proceedings. – TWL Bureau