Thursday, July 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Alexander to call it a day?
T R Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 10
Maharashtra Governor P C Alexander, who has resigned and sought that he be relieved of his gubernatorial assignment on July 13, is expected to bid adieu to public life spanning a period of more than half a century.

“There is no foundation or basis for the intense speculation in the media that Dr Alexander is being tipped for a ministerial assignment or as an adviser to the Prime Minister,” according to authoritative sources.

Having lost out in the stakes for the high office of President, Dr Alexander is now keen on leading a retired life after having held several high positions at the national and international levels.

The Prime Minister’s Office and the Press Information Bureau went into an overdrive late last night to squash suggestions spreading thick and fast that Dr Alexander might be associated with affairs of National Security or made a Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra or be inducted into Mr Vajpayee’s Cabinet.

Mr Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party said, “though one of its Rajya Sabha seats is falling vacant, it will be filled from within its own ranks. NCP spokesperson Praful Patel was quick in putting the record straight that they were not going to support any BJP-Shiv Sena nominee for its lone Rajya Sabha seat.

Dr Alexander has rejected the speculation that he is hankering for any post and that all offers in the past had come to him on their own.

Sources acknowledge that there was an avoidable embarrassment caused to the octogenarian statesman and administrator connected with being the Presidential nominee of the BJP-led NDA government. Dr Alexander had lost the race to missile man A P J Abdul Kalam due to a combination of factors.

The Presidential issue is now out of the way with Dr Alexander having met Mr Vajpayee and Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani yesterday.

Dr Alexander has had a chequered innings as an administrator and statesman. These include three years as Commerce Secretary, four years as Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, three years as India’s High Commissioner in London, nearly 14 years as Governor — first of Tamil Nadu and then of Maharashtra — and a decade in senior posts in the U N Civil Service.

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