Sushil KumarNEW DELHI: Sushilkumar Shinde today assumed charge as the new Home Minister and promised to work closely with the states in dealing with internal security challenges and contentious issues like setting up of NCTC.

Expressing gratitude to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi for bestowing the charge of the Home Ministry to a Dalit, Shinde said there was a need to plug the gaps in the relations between the states and the Centre.

“I have been hearing from political circles in Central Hall in Parliament that there is still scope to plug the gaps in relations between the states and the Centre,” he told reporters here shortly after taking the charge.

Shinde said his predecessor P Chidambaram had done good work and plugged the gaps to a certain extent and that he too would try to further fill those gaps.

“We will have to further go ahead. One has to have good relations with states. The states may be ruled by different parties. But I want to send a message to all Chief Ministers that we are all Indians and together we will work wherever there is a difficulty,” he said.

The statement comes in the backdrop of the opposition the Home Ministry has faced in recent past to National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and some other issues.

Shinde thanked Singh and Gandhi for giving him the responsibility of Home Ministry, saying after Buta Singh, who was Home Minister in early 1980s, he has become the second Dalit to hold the key post.

He said Rajiv Gandhi had given the responsibility of Home Ministry to Buta Singh and now Gandhi and Manmohan Singh gave him the task. -PTI