A prime minister needs someone who can tell the truth, such as the fact that demonetisation is a “Tughalaqian” decision, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said on Tuesday.
The former Union minister said this during the launch of his book ‘Intertwined Lives: P N Haksar and Indira Gandhi’, a biography of P N Haksar, the principal secretary to prime minister Indira Gandhi between 1967 and 1973.
“The most important lesson what I started with, if you are the prime minister, you cannot surround yourself with yes-men. You cannot surround yourself with people who do not tell you the truth,” Mr Ramesh said when asked about the lessons he learnt while writing the book.
Referring to the rapport between Ms Gandhi and Mr Haksar, he said Mr Haksar was someone “who had the courage to tell her (Gandhi) that she was right or wrong. You need a person who will tell someone in power that demonetisation is a Tughalaqian decision. You need somebody who will have the courage to say that,” the Congress leader said.
Drawing on Mr Haksar’s extensive archives of official papers, memos, notes and letters, Mr Ramesh presents a chronicle of the man who decisively shaped the nation’s political and economic history in the 1960s and 1970s.
Mr Haksar was the “most powerful civil servant” during that period, and the alter ego of Indira Gandhi, he said, but stressed that it was Indira Gandhi who “made the decisions”.
Mr Ramesh also said that Mr Haksar was ideologically strong, and was not a sycophant to Ms Gandhi.
Mr Haskar was born on September 4, 1913 in Gujranwala (now in Pakistan) and died in New Delhi in 1998.