New Delhi, Jan 25: Former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao almost went ahead with the nuclear test in 1996 but later handed over the responsibility to his successor Atal Bihari Vajpayee since the poll results that year did not go in favour of the Congress. Former President APJ Abdul Kalam revealed this piece of history at the seventh RN Kao Memorial lecture at the RAW headquarters on Thursday.
Kalam, who was the chief scientific advisor to the PM, said he had received a call on a night of May 1996 and was asked to meet PM Rao immediately. He said he met the PM just two days ahead of the announcement of the results of the general elections held that year. Rao told him to get ready with the department of atomic energy and the DRDO team for the N-test, Kalam said.
According to Kalam, Rao said he was going to Tirupati and asked him to wait for his approval to go ahead with the test.
But the election result did not go the Congress's way and Kalam, who was busy in Chandipur missile range, was asked to meet PM-designate Vajpayee with Rao. He said it was a unique experience for him to see the outgoing PM asking him to brief the details of the nuclear programme to his successor.