was chugging along nicely, and if India climbed no great heights, there were no calamities either. The zigzagging economy was expected to grow at around 6 per cent, the infotech juggernaut continued to boost the people's morale, social strife remained in check and, best of all, the possibility of another election appeared remote. Atal Behari Vajpayee's coalition seemed about as safe as Dhirubhai's Reliance. Then on December 6, the prime minister delivered the few words which instantly raised the communal temperature and took the country back to medieval politics. Annus horribilis? Perhaps not, but as I join the year-end ritual of handing out certificates of honour and opprobrium, Shri Vajpayee, regretfully, heads the list in my opprobrium section.