With the Code of Conduct on Elections now having been lifted by the ICAI, I thought this article is in place.
Dear Mr. / Ms. Candidate,
It all started about 2-3 months ago, when I suddenly starting receiving e-mails in my inbox from unknown people who were “enthusiastic” to share borrowed knowledge with me – borrowed because was forwarded presentations created by people other than the ones from whom I received the e-mails. It bothered me little, for getting more knowledge seemed no harm. Then, my Linkedin account saw a flurry of activity, connection requests from several fellow Chartered Accountants, whom I knew not.
It was only a few weeks after having accepted those benign requests, that I realised their real purpose – campaigning for the impending ICAI elections! Okay, so we all know why the ICAI elections are all so important and why the number of candidates contesting for both the WIRC and the Central Council elections are exponentially rising. But, does your desperation to win give you the right to bombard me with your campaign?
Do you forget that you are a part of premier institution, which has a strict code of ethics and conduct for its members? Why then does your election campaign look no different from that of a hard-core thick-skinned politician? If this implies that we are no different a breed than them, then, I would really be ashamed to be a part of this community! Let me clarify a few points to you candidly (to convey my thoughts candidly is what I have always been taught to do) - Once you have sent me your election manifesto on e-mail, neither its contents nor my reading of it, nor my understanding or perception of it is going to change just because you decided to burden my inbox with repeat e-mails or send me the manifesto again by couriers! My family is tired of receiving your manifestos by courier in the middle of the afternoon – wait, didn’t you already e- mail it to me? I am interested in your so-called “knowledge-sharing” only if you are doing it even when elections are not on the horizon and you believe in the sharing process genuinely – otherwise, there is a lot of information and knowledge available out there on the World Wide Web.
I despise receiving unsolicited, animated and impersonal Dusshera and Diwali SMSs once in three years from unknown sources. Your wishes mean nothing to me and do nothing to make my festival better. Why do you constantly hammer me via e- mails, messages and phone calls with my booth information or election dates or your ballot paper number or even your profile? Let me remind you, if it has skipped your notice, that the very Institute whose elections you are contesting sends out KYC (Know Your Candidate) booklets for each Council – Regional and Central – to every member along with a letter informing of the election dates and booth information.
No matter how outgoing I might be, I am not interested in dining with people I do not know or have never heard of at your “dinner get-togethers” – so please do not bother to invite me! Your door-to-door campaigning is one of the worst strategies – did you know how many candidates visit the same firm / company in a matter of a couple of weeks? If I do not already know you personally, chances are that I would not get to know even then. And you think meeting me for barely 5 seconds at my office desk will make me vote for you?
Well, I promise I will, if you remember the names of me and my colleagues the next time you see us. I am not concerned with which all NGOs / Trusts / Associations you are involved with apart from what you have done for the profession. No wait, I am concerned because if you are “actively involved” with tens of other organisations, then, it implies you do not have enough time for the Institute or the profession. And the worst of it all – you waste precious 2-3 months of the articleship period of the poor articles in your office for election campaigning? You could hire people for this job.
Well, now that I have made myself clear, let me also tell you that I am a part of a breed of educated people. I can take informed decisions on who to vote for based on people I already know personally, based on what I know of you from professional circles and based on what the KYC brochure of the Institute says. I do not want you to spend lakhs of rupees over a few months on your disgraceful campaigning strategies with a capital ‘D’. They only speak tons about how you value your own time and the time of fellow professionals (door-to-door campaigning? Repetitive phone calls? Please spare us and yourself!).
Remember the proverb we all learnt in our childhood – Let your actions or deeds speak for you, not your muscle power (or money power)! And of course, in future if any student seeks my advice on where to do articleship from – which happens often in my case – I will surely ask them to inter alia look out for the office of a Council member or potential candidate. Where else would they get the oh-so-valuable-and- once-in-a-lifetime experience of being a lowly paid peon and / or call centre employee during articleship itself!
A once proud Chartered Accountant who has started to feel otherwise.