NEW DELHI - A government minister was mocked on social media for urinating in public despite the prime minister's flagship public hygiene drive as pictures of the embarrassing incident were splashed over front pages Friday.
The Times of India said agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh relieved himself against a school wall "flanked by his security guards carrying automatic weapons."
The paper's front page headline said: "Union minister pees in open, sparks row," and along with rivals printed grainy images of the 67-year-old minister standing next to a wall.
The picture was taken in Singh's constituency in Bihar state, the Times reported.
Indian internet users were quick to mock the minister and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"Here, the national agriculture minister inaugurating an irrigation scheme in a drought affected region amidst tight security," Rashtriya Janata Dal, a regional political party, quipped as it tweeted the pictures.
"The minister also made a contribution to 'Clean India Mission'," the post added.
'Clean India' is one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's flagship programmes to improve public hygiene and cleanliness and encourage people to use public toilets.
"Superb... Proud to have an agricultural minister like Radha Mohan Singh who waters the grass himself," Santosh Bharadwaj tweeted.
But Singh's relatives criticised the media for publishing the pictures.
"Urinating is a natural biological urge of a human being, so why are such things highlighted to create a controversy? Are urinals available everywhere?," Sujit Kumar Singh, his son-in-law told The Hindu newspaper.
The minister made no immediate comment.