New Delhi: In a reshuffle of portfolios, Union Minister of State Lalchand Kataria, sulking over work allocation in Defence Ministry to him, was on Tuesday shifted to Rural Development department soon after he met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and sought a change in his portfolio.

In two other changes, young MP Milind Deora, MoS in Telecommunication and Information Technology Ministry, got additional the 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.

Kataria had refused to take charge in Defence Ministry in the last two days and official sources said he 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 Defence Ministry.

However, sources 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.

Official sources said the Prime Minister has agreed to look into his request for a change in portfolio.

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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