Alexander, who served as Gandhi's principal secretary
after her return to power in 1980, combined dexterously his
personal equation with the prime minister and good rapport
with key ministers and top secretaries to ensure quick and
effective implementation of government policies.
Respected as a bureaucrat with a difference, Alexander
served as governor of Maharashtra from 1993 to 2002 and of
Tamil Nadu from 1998 to 1990.
Born in Kerala on March 20, 1921, Padinjarethalakal
Cherian Alexander was a Rajya Sabha member from 2002-2008 and
held eminent positions in his five-decade long career as a
Alexander's name was considered for the post of President
during the NDA rule in 2002 to succeed K R Narayanan but he
lost the race due to certain political complexities at the
time, leading to the election of APJ Abdul Kalam. An upset
Alexander had then resigned as Maharashtra Governor.
A 1948 batch IAS officer, Alexander left his own imprint
for his standards of efficiency, impartiality and integrity.
It was these qualities that took him to the post of
Principal Secretary to Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi from
1981 to 85.
An unassuming person, Alexander never tried to impose his
views on Indira and Rajiv presenting alternative courses of
option in a given situation but skill-fully zeroing in on a
Chennai: Known as a man for all seasons, PC
Alexander made a mark as the political adviser, conscience
keeper and administrative trouble-shooter to former Prime
Minister Indira Gandhi who heavily relied on him to tackle
First Published: Wednesday, August 10, 2011, 12:26