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The myth of the rational voter

Conditions exist in India today to test the theory that voters reward performance and punish failure

Illustration: Binay Sinha
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Illustration: Binay Sinha

Aakar Patel
Some years ago, writers began to speculate about why it was that some chief ministers (CMs) were being returned to office, which was unusual at the time. These leaders were defying the Indian pattern and managing to deflect the curse of anti-incumbency, a psephological term so widely understood that it is a term of everyday use here. They included Naveen Patnaik in Odisha, Narendra Modi in Gujarat, Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Madhya Pradesh and Nitish Kumar in Bihar, among others.

The reasoning was that voters were endorsing the quality of these individuals’ governance. The state had more resources in the
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First Published: Jun 25 2020 | 11:21 PM IST

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