Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
File photo

Over the years, India's first Prime Minister has been both revered and reviled in equal measures. Even decades after his death, Jawaharlal Nehru's name crops up on a regular basis in debates and allegations. Mere days earlier for example, a BJP MLA had reportedly claimed that the former PM had gotten freedom fighter Chandrashekhar Azad killed as part of a conspiracy.

Now, a somewhat more innocuous claim is doing the rounds. Quoting the Madhya Pradesh Rajya Sabha website, Minister Vishvas Kailash Sarang suggested that Nehru's favourite cigarettes were once flown to Bhopal during his visit. The lawmaker shared a screenshot of anecdotes from former Governor H. Vinayak. Pataskar that have been shared on the website.

From staying at the palace of the queen of Bhopal to the aforementioned story about the cigarettes -- the webpage has several interesting factoids. According to reports, these particular facts had come from Pataskar's diary and was uploaded after his tenure ended.

"On a visit of Jawahar Lal Nehru to Bhopal, the Raj Bhavan staff realised that the favourite cigarette brand of Nehruji "555" was not available in the Raj Bhavan. Nehruji used to have a cigarette after his meals. The staff immediately sent a plane to Indore for air-lifting Nehruji's favourite pack, which was kept ready at the Indore airport," reads the story picked out by Sarang.

Since then, the remark has been picked up by many others online to take a potshot at Nehru or hit out at the present day Congress. The party however has been somewhat contradictory in their defence. While some maintain that Sarang's remarks are misleading, others have rushed to opine that it was not Nehru's fault.

Congress lawmaker PC Sharma countered this by dragging Prime Minister Narendra Modi's sartorial choices into the debate. “Everybody knows the rate of a suit worn by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a function in 2016. They should teach their leaders first about simplicity. BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] leaders left with no issue to attack Congress leaders are coming up with anecdotes," the Hindustan Times report quotes him as saying.

For a large part of Twitter however, Nehru's cigarettes or the way they were procured are uninteresting. What does have many social media users fascinated is his choice of brands.

"Nehruji had taste," summed up one post.

"He had excellent taste in smoking and also was careful about not overdoing the vice. Just one cigarette. Not more than that. No overdoing stuff," tweeted another user.

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