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 government.
“This is vital for the Congress at a time when it is projecting itself as a party of responsible governance,” it says.
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 Academic Foundation.
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% 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, multi-cultural democracy.”