P.C. Alexander, former Indira Gandhi aide, is dead (Second Lead)

August 10th, 2011 - 3:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Aug 10 (IANS) P.C. Alexander, the powerful former principal secretary to prime minister Indira Gandhi who also served Rajiv Gandhi briefly, died at a hospital here Wednesday morning, family sources said. He was 90.

Alexander was undergoing treatment at the Madras Medical Mission Hospital for heart ailments. The end came at 8.30 a.m..

His body will be taken to his Chennai residence before being flown to Kochi in Kerala Friday. The funeral will be held Saturday at his home parish at Mavelikera town in Alappuzha district, the family said.

Alexander was the principal secretary to Indira Gandhi and virtually served as her shadow and policy adviser for the years after her return to power in January 1980.

He briefly served Rajiv Gandhi but the latter was not very comfortable with his paternal style and had him replaced. He was sent as India’s High Commissioner to Britain.

A former civil servant, he was invited by Indira Gandhi to become her principal secretary when he was serving at the United Nations.

He became the governor of Tamil Nadu in 1988, holding the post till 1990. He served as the Maharashtra governor in 1993-2002.

He quit the post in disgust after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) first proposed his name for presidency but then opted for A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Alexander was also a former member of the Rajya Sabha and continued to take a keen interest in national affairs till some time ago.

Alexander’s death came three days after that of B.C. Deshmukh, another former civil servant who served as cabinet secretary and principal secretary to three prime ministers. Deshmukh died in Pune.

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