2 days after reshuffle, berth pangs continue: Kataria loses Defence
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Newly inducted minister of state Lalchand Kataria Tuesday lost the Defence portfolio. He was called by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the morning, and was said to have been told that his portfolio would have to be changed as MoS (Ind. charge) Youth Affairs & Sports, Jitendra Singh, has already been appointed MoS, Defence. Apparently, it was not desirable to have two ministers from the same state (Rajasthan) with the same portfolio.
An official communique late Tuesday evening announced that Kataria had been given Rural Development. The communique also said MoS, Telecom Milind Deora had been given the additional portfolio of MoS, Shipping, and Panabaka Lakshmi, who was made MoS, Textiles on Sunday, had been moved to Petroleum.
Late on Sunday evening, Jitin Prasada too had been divested of the Defence portfolio. An official release following the reshuffle had allotted him both Defence and HRD.
Sources said Jitendra Singh got Defence because he had handled paramilitary forces as MoS, Home.
However, the obvious goof-ups in portfolio allocation to young ministers has caused unease in the Congress. Some leader believe it could undermine the message sought to be conveyed through promotion of young ministers like Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot and Jitendra Singh by giving them Independent charge.
Apart from Jitin Prasada and Kataria, another young minister, R P N Singh, appears to have lost out in the re-allocation of portfolios as he was learnt to have been informed by the Cabinet Secretariat on Monday that he had been allotted only Home portfolio.
RPN was MoS, Petroleum & Natural Gas and Corporate Affairs, before the reshuffle. As the official communique about the re-allocation of portfolios on Sunday was silent about the Petroleum portfolio, it was assumed RPN would retain it and have Home additionally. Till Tuesday eveing, Petroleum & Natural Gas had not been allotted to any MoS.
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