President Pranab Mukherjee
In picture: President Pranab Mukherjee receives the first copy of the commemorative volume "India's Indira: A Centennial Tribute", at a function, in New Delhi on May 13, 2017. Vice president Hamid Ansari, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and other dignitaries are also seen.Press Information Bureau

President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday created quite a flutter in the political circles across India by claiming that former Congress chief Indira Gandhi was the "most acceptable" prime minister of India. He was speaking at the launch of the book "India's Indira: A Centennial Tribute" in New Delhi, surrounded by a bevy of Congress leaders.

Mukherjee -- himself a Congress leader before he became President -- was a close aide of Indira during her rule as Congress president and prime minister of India. In fact, many thought he would be chosen prime minister when she was assassinated in 1984 as he was the senior-most leader in the party and second in line to the top post. However, the Congress instead chose her son Rajiv Gandhi to the post.

Even otherwise, Indira Gandhi is considered one of the most divisive prime ministers of India: She plunged India into turmoil by declaring Emergency, during which time the number of political prisoners surged. Many news outlets were also gagged and persecuted because they spoke out against her policies.

She is also one of the only two prime ministers to have recommended the Bharat Ratna for themselves, the other being her father Jawaharlal Nehru. The fact that her younger son Sanjay Gandhi also wielded a lot of power, albeit unofficially [remember the forced "family planning"?], also exacerbated matters.

What the President said

Mukherjee, on the other hand, showed he had high regards for Indira. He said at Saturday's event: "Indiraji's entire life was infused with a tremendous passion for India and its people, and a deep-rooted commitment to our core values. She was filled with an intense desire to see India rise above poverty and deprivation as well as occupy a rightful place on the high table of the international comity."

He added: "Indiraji waged throughout her life a relentless war against communal and sectarian violence. She strove to successfully transcend divisive identities of caste, community, religion and creed and in the process established a direct connect with people throughout the length and breadth of India. It was this unhindered rapport that made her acceptable from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Mizoram to Dwarka."

Twitterati disagrees

However, many people on several social media platforms chose to disagree with the President. See what they said:

Some even got a whiff of controversy among all this!