New Delhi: Dismissing claims that he was unhappy with his new charge, newly-appointed Science and Technology Minister S Jaipal Reddy on Monday said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took him into confidence about the change in his portfolio.

"The Prime Minister took me into confidence about the change in my portfolio and that was enough for me. I have never in my life haggled or bargained for portfolios," he told reporters here.

In the cabinet reshuffle Sunday, Jaipal Reddy was transferred from the crucial petroleum ministry to the science and technology ministry.

M Veerappa Moily succeeded him as the new petroleum minister.

"It has been my effort to be a faithful partyman under a truthful (prime) minister and that shall be my focus and that has been my focus," said Jaipal Reddy.

Asked whether he was given a reason for his removal from the petroleum ministry, Jaipal Reddy said: "No minister is ever told about the reason and I think the PM should not give the reason for change in a portfolio."

He added that he had an "excellent" relationship with the prime minister and that he had always been shown affection by him.

"I don't take positions on portfolios and all my life I have taken ideological positions on issues... I've no regrets about portfolios," said Jaipal Reddy.

Asked why he did not personally hand over the charge to Moily, he said he was busy learning about his new ministry.

"I told the secretary that I will come at five (p.m.) as I wanted to understand about this department. I am a student of social science, not of natural science so I needed time. I am not an officer to hand over charge," he said.

"When I took over as petroleum minister, I did not let Murli Deora give charge to me. Moily came to see are free to indulge in your imagination," he added.

The minister said that the science ministry was very important because it works in the areas of fundamental research.

"I believe in the philosophy and the technology of science. I ardently share (former Prime Minister Jawaharlal) Nehru's admiration for science and technology and offer my salutation to him for having laid the foundation of science and technology in the country".

The minister said that he aims to increase the number of scientific researchers from present 154,000 to 254,000 in the 12th Plan period.


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