Indian politician Shivraj Singh Chouhan is facing criticism after a picture emerged online appearing to show him being given a 'lift' by burly policemen, apparently to stop his white trousers from getting dirty, as he met flood-affected families in Satna and at a relief camp,

The chief minister of Madhya Pradesh state was visiting the aftermath of a flood in which at least 40 people died and hundreds of thousands were evacuated on Sunday (21 August), following monsoon rains in central and eastern India.

The politician was at the receiving end of a social media backlash after the image emerged online on Monday (22 August).

One tweet said: "Shame on Shivraj Singh Chouhan. So embarrassing, wet your feet my man."

Another said: "Its not good for a CM to travel on the shoulders of the security/police people. Please show humanity. If you walk in water, good."

However, Chouhan was not the only target of contempt, as some sneered at the necessity of one policeman wearing a bright orange life vest in ankle-deep water.

Chouhan's office told the Hindustan Times that police officials decided to carry him because "he had trouble walking after his foot hit a hard object in the mud."

A spokesman added: "That's why the security personnel lifted him on their own, despite insistence from the CM not to do so.

"The nullah (stream) was deeper ahead, hence security personnel took the decision out of security concerns as despite pain in his foot, the CM decided to tour the flooded area. He wanted to meet the affected people and assess the situation caused by heavy rains and flood."

However, a picture later emerged, which showed Chouhan with his trousers rolled-up and walking barefoot in the floodwaters, apparently unaided, while a very helpful security officer carried his white shoes.