How PV became PM

The aspirants included the late Arjun Singh, N.D Tiwari, Sharad Pawar and Madhav Rao Scindia. Sonia Gandhi was aware of this. I told her that the time had come for her to indicate her preference for Congress president. He would naturally become Prime Minister. For so momentous a decision, I suggested she ask P.N. Haksar for advice. She said she would let me know. Meanwhile, she consulted several people, including M.L. Fotedar.

 

The next day, she asked me to bring P.N. Haksar to No.10 Janpath. Haksar’s advice was to offer the post to Vice-President Shankar Dayal Sharma. He suggested that Aruna Asaf Ali and I should sound out the Vice-President. Aruna Asaf Ali told the Vice-President that she and I had been asked to request him to accept the post of Congress party president. In other words, he would be the Prime Minister. Shankar Dayal Sharma gave us a patient hearing. He then said he was touched and honoured by Soniaji placing so much trust in him.

 

What followed staggered Arunaji and me. The Vice-President continued, “The prime ministership of India is a full time job. My age and health would not let me to do justice to the most important office in the country. Kindly convey to Soniaji the reasons for my inability to take on such an awesome a responsibility”. His answer was wholly unexpected. To turn down the prime ministership of India was something only a man of self-confidence and integrity could do.

 

On the way back, Arunaji and I hardly exchanged a word, because Shankar Dayalji’s response had overwhelmed us.

We reported to Ms. Gandhi the Vice-President’s decision. The country was without a Prime Minister. Such a hiatus could not be prolonged. Already the media was reporting unseemly and not-so-innocent jockeying for the job.

 

Once again she turned to P.N. Haksar, who advised her to send for P.V. Narasimha Rao. The rest is history

 

wrote Natwar Singh, former Foreign Minister of India in The Hindu

What was that again?

“What is the most common mistake of investors? It is believing that things that worked in the past will continue to work and leveraging up to be on it. Nowadays, with the computer, it is easy to identify what would have worked and, with financial engineering, to create overoptimized strategies. We are entering a period that will not be consistent with the back-testing, and problems will arise. When that dynamic exists and there’s close to zero interest rate, we knew that the ability of the central bank to ease monetary policy is limited.” – said Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates – “The Alpha Masters”