The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had no cause to lose the 2004 election. The economy was in cruise mode: growth rate nicely picking up (8%), inflation (4% overall, 2% food), budget deficit (under 4%) and current account (surplus of 2%) all well under control.

The India buzz abroad was growing and investments - mostly by foreign institutions - were steadily growing. Most regions, including Naxal-belts, were relatively quiet. India maintained reasonable harmony with all its neighbours and partner nations. This tranquil state, unimaginable now, existed a scant decade ago. As the slogan, much-maligned since then, claimed, India was indeed Shining. Read More