Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Wednesday defended cutting of trees for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's poll rally, saying such a thing was done earlier too, but more trees were also planted.
His remarks came a day after the opposition parties alleged that some trees on the campus of Sir Parshuram College in Maharashtra's Pune city were chopped on Monday for Modi's October 17 rally, which will be held on the college ground.
"Every time we cut trees, we plant more. It is a rule of the forest department," Javadekar told reporters in Mumbai.
"And why is there so much fuss about cutting of trees for Modi's rally? Trees have been cut for rallies of others too, and for rallies of previous prime ministers. I wonder why there was no such awareness previously," he said.
On the issue of farmer suicides in Maharashtra, Javadekar said, "We inherited the issue from the previous (Congress-Nationalist Congress Party) government."
"Farmers' suicides are happening only in five districts because there were no irrigation facilities," the minister said.
He also hit out at the NCP, blaming it for the current crisis in the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank.
"The PMC bank crisis is a sin of the NCP," he said.
Following the discovery of an over Rs 4,000 crore scam at the bank, which has deposits of over Rs 11,000 crore, the Reserve Bank of India last month appointed an administrator over it, and capped withdrawals at Rs 1,000.
On Monday evening, the withdrawal cap was hiked to Rs 40,000, with the RBI saying that it will give relief to 77 per cent of depositors.
Javadekar also welcomed the BJP's demand of the Bharat Ratna for Hindu ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar.
The BJP's Maharashtra unit on Tuesday sought the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour, for Savarkar inits manifesto for the October 21 state polls.
"We are happy that the manifesto has mentioned the demand that Savarkar and Phule duo (social reformers Savitribai Phule and Mahatma Phule) be honoured with the Bharat Ratna," the minister said.