When Atal Bihari Vajpayee came to power in 1998, he had a string of achievements. He became the first non-Congress and coalition PM to complete a term in office. The Kargil War was won. The liberalization of 1991 was finally taken forward. The national highways project got a fillip.
There was every chance of re-election, but hubris set in. Towards the end of the term, all the BJP leaders became complacent. So sure were they of retaining power that they let their guard down.
An "India Shining" ad campaign was formed, which was really in bad taste as the liberalisation of 1991 is yet to reach the villages and the poor fully. To make matters worse, the general elections were pre-poned by about six months, a sign of overconfidence.
Pride they say has a great fall and that is what happened in 2004.
Image: Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L K Advani hug each other upon arrival to address a rally in Lucknow on April 5, 2004.
(Photograph copyright AFP. Any unauthorised reproduction is prohibited)