New Delhi: Union Minister Lalchand Kataria, who was earlier sulking over work allocation to him in Defence Ministry, on Wednesday took charge as Minister of State for Rural Development, saying he is "happy" and has "no regrets".

Ruling out any differences with the Minister of State for Defence Jitendra Singh Bhanwar, Kataria said that he has "no regrets" over being shifted from the defence ministry as Bhanwar was "senior" to him and had "experience".

Kataria had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday seeking a change in his portfolio.

Official sources said he had conveyed to Singh that since the other Minister of State Jitendra Singh also hailed from Rajasthan like him, he would find it difficult to work in the Defence Ministry.

However, sources had said Kataria's real grouse was that Jitendra Singh was tipped to get charge of defence production, while he would be left with only the subjects of NCC and Ex-Servicemen to look after.

Kataria, however, maintained that he had made it clear that he would take oath on Wednesday, which he did. He took charge in presence of Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh.

"There is no dispute in whatever decision taken by the Prime Minister and Congress President Sonia Gandhi. There must have been some technical mistake (in both his and Bhanwar's name proposed for defence ministry).

"He (Bhanwar) is senior to me. We hail from the same area...We have been MLAs together.... Keeping in mind all this, the Prime Minister yesterday decided to give me the charge of rural development," he said. Kataria said he considers himself fortunate that hailing from a village, he got work in the rural development ministry.

"I have no regrets. What is there to regret. One should focus on work one gets. They have given me a responsibility, which I will discharge with complete focus," he said, adding he has old ties with Ramesh.

Listing out his priorities, he said that he will bring to the notice of Ramesh the complaints about MNREGA from villages and the problem of drinking water in Rajasthan.

In two other changes, young MP Milind Deora, MoS in Telecommunication and Information Technology Ministry, got additional portfolio of Shipping in the same rank and Panabaka Laxmi, who was made MoS in Textile Ministry on Sunday, was reallocated Petroleum and Gas department.

A late night Rashtrapati Bhavan communique said President Pranab Mukherjee, as advised by the Prime Minister, approved the latest round of portfolios reshuffle.

First-time inductee into the Union Council of Ministers, Kataria was sworn-in along with 21 other union ministers on Sunday.


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