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Harvard Business Review Calls UP Results a Victory for 'Big Narrative'

A paper published in the prestigious Harvard Business Review says that the results of the Uttar Pradesh elections indicate that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Big Narrative”, rather than “big data”, which won a landslide for the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Tushar Dhara | News18.com

Updated:March 16, 2017, 1:09 PM IST
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Harvard Business Review Calls UP Results a Victory for 'Big Narrative'
The election results indicate that voters connected with the Prime Minister’s message of 'development' despite the hardships caused by demonetisation.(Image: PTI)
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New Delhi: A paper published in the prestigious Harvard Business Review says that the results of the Uttar Pradesh elections indicate that it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Big Narrative”, rather than “big data”, which won a landslide for the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Bhaskar Chakravorti, who teaches business and finance at Tufts University wrote that the “Big Narrative” in question was the decision to demonetize 86% of cash in the Indian economy, which was perceived by the voters as someone doing something decisive to fight corruption.

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The paper published in the Harvard Business Review is called Early Lessons from India’s Demonetisation Experiment.

“The victory of narrative over data may be the takeaway from India’s demonetization saga,” Chakravorty wrote. “On March 11 Uttar Pradesh gave the prime minister's party a landslide election victory. While we celebrate the age of big data, it may be "big narrative" that drives the most-profound decisions: When people feel that you’re fighting for them, it seems even the most concrete evidence, be it data or history, wields less and less influence.”

The paper goes on to say that the voters of UP did not judge the Modi government’s actions on the basis of “arcane” issues such as percentage of cash deposited in banks or intricacies of GDP growth, but on the perception that the government was acting on behalf of ordinary people.

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Chakravorti further buttressed his argument by writing that Prime Minister Modi at an election rally drew a distinction between his efforts and the critics, which may have found resonance with the voters: “On the one hand are those [critics of the note ban], who talk of what people at Harvard say, and on the other is a poor man’s son, who through his hard work is trying to improve the economy.”

The Bharatiya Janata Party alliance won 325 seats in the 403 member UP Assembly, securing a landslide. The results indicate that voters connected with the Prime Minister’s message of “development” despite the hardships caused by the cash swap exercise.

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| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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