PC Alexander - A man for all seasons

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 tricky situations.

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 public servant.

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 single option.