On Monday, October 11, when Atal Behari Vajpayee left for Rashtrapati Bhavan to accept the President's formal invitation to form the government, it was just another day at 7, Race Course Road, the Prime Minister's residence.Yes, two stages had been erected on the lawn, one for the media, one for the common citizen, but there weren't too many people around.
No crackers going off all around, and no frenzied drumbeats. Very different from the day 18 months ago when he set off on a similar errand. Then there was gulal in the air, and dancing in the streets. This time, it was business as usual.
That seems to be the message Vajpayee is trying to send as soon as it became clear that the NDA would get a reasonably comfortable majority: business as usual, but at a manic pace. After the swearing-in on October 13, Vajpayee went straight to his office to chair three back-to-back meetings. As evening fell, the only thing visibly different in that area of Delhi which is the country's seat of power was a lit-up Parliament House.