The Bharatiya Janata Party’s colossal victory in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections proves that “big narrative” upstages “big data” and factual evidence, according to a research in the Harvard Business Review. “While we celebrate the age of big data, it may be ‘big narrative’ that drives the most-profound decisions,” wrote Tufts University’s Bhaskar Chakravorti. “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.”
In a study titled “Early Lessons from India’s Demonetisation Experiment” published on Wednesday, Chakravorti highlighted that voters did not judge the Narendra Modi-led party on the hassles brought on by the currency ban or “arcane issues” such as how the GDP growth rate was calculated, the money deposited in banks. “Did India just pull off a monetary and political miracle?”, it asks. “The message that carried the greatest weight was that the government was acting, and acting decisively, on behalf of ordinary people to fight corruption.”
“Short of any singing, dancing, and costume changes, this sequence could have been taken from Bollywood, a movie industry widely known for its fantastical flights of fancy,” he said on the elections being dubbed a test of the BJP’s post-demonetisation popularity.
Since its win in the Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh elections, the BJP has been reiterating that the people were on their side and had accepted the Centre’s aim to weed out corruption through demonetisation. The report, however, argues that scrapping Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was not the best approach to tackle black money.
Chakavorti is the senior associate dean of international business and finance at The Fletcher School at Tufts University, Massachusetts, and the author of Slow Pace of Fast Change.