New Delhi: At a time when onion prices
are skyrocketing, a book brought out by Congress with Finance
Minister Pranab Mukherjee as its chief editor has admitted
that price rise was a major problem confronting the UPA II.
"Inflation based on high prices of foodgrains
continues to be a challenge," says the book `Congress and the
Making of the Indian Nation` which was released at the
just-concluded party plenary marking completion of 125 years
of the organisation.
It also lauds Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for
providing an "image of stability and sobriety" to the
"This is vital for the Congress at a time when it is
projecting itself as a party of responsible governance," it
It notes that major concerns relate to containment of
Maoist violence and external security threats.
"India`s traditional enemy Pakistan is strengthened by
being an ally of the US, in its `war against terror` in
Afghanistan," it says.
As regards China, the book says that Beijing has now
been an "economic giant" which is in "no mood" to be
conciliatory towards India on strategic or economic issues.
For the party, the focus on issues related to economic
development and empowerment of the underprivileged continue
to counter the casteist and communal forces in the country.
Union Minister Anand Sharma is the convenor of
editorial board for the book brought out by the Delhi-based
The book hails Congress president Sonia Gandhi for her
decision to decline prime ministership after leading the UPA
to power in 2004.
"Not since the days of the freedom struggle was such a
complete separation of the objective of personal power and the
objective of achieving social ideals seen. People looked upon
Sonia Gandhi`s renunciation of power as reminiscent of the
Mahatma," it said.
The book said "an able leadership of government was
combined with the exemplary and selfless leadership of the
party by Sonia Gandhi".
Referring to the Lok Sabha Elections last year, the
book said it was the first occasion that the Congress named a
prime ministerial candidate in Manmohan Singh.
With the Congress securing 29 per cent of the vote
share with 206 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha, the "growth
of the regional parties was somewhat checked", it said.
In the foreword to the book, Mukherjee takes a dig at
non-Congress parties, saying "most other parties have tried to
grow by trying to mobilise a particular caste, class or
religious community often leading to intolerable violence
against other sections.
“This poses a serious threat to the unity and
integrity of the country and its survival as an inclusive,