At least 40 people have died and hundreds of thousands have been evacuated as floods triggered by monsoon rains hit central and eastern India.
During a visit to a village hit by flooding, Shivraj Singh Chouhan was pictured wearing white trousers and being held aloft by two policemen in shallow water.
The photo of Mr Chouhan, chief minister of the Madhya Pradesh state, was splashed on newspaper front pages in India and sparked a backlash on Twitter.
One post read: “Shame on Shivraj Singh Chouhan. So embarrassing, wet your feet my man.”
Another user joked that the picture showed Mr Chouhan “celebrating with coaches and staff after defeating (Michael) Phelps to clinch gold in 400m swimming.”
Others accused the minister of abusing his position, while some drew comparisons to the treatment of British officials during colonial times.
The Hindustan Times reports that security officers lifted Mr Chouhan after he “hit a hard object in the mud”.
Other reports suggest that the minister was hoisted over concerns about snakes in the water.
On Twitter Mr Chouhan posted pictures of himself surveying flood damage in barefoot, next to a man holding his shoes.
He omitted the image of him being carried through floodwater.
In Madhya Pradesh at least 17 people have died from drowning, electrocution and injuries from house collapses.
Mr Chouhan said: “The administration is alert and I have ordered them to provide food and clean water to the displaced.
“Weather warning administration will take adequate steps when needed.”
Disaster management officials said that days of heavy rain have caused the Ganges River to rise above the danger mark in 20 districts.
Floods occur in many parts of India during the monsoon season, which runs from June through September. (skynews.com)