Indian environment minister resigns in pre-election shakeup, portfolio goes to oil minister

India's environment minister has resigned in a government shakeup as the governing Congress party prepares for next year's national elections.

President Pranab Mukherjee's office says he accepted Jayanthi Natarajan's resignation Saturday. The country's oil and gas minister, M. Veerappa Moily, will take over the environment portfolio in addition to his regular duties.

The shift comes two weeks after the Congress party's defeat in four key state elections, including the capital, Delhi, as voters sought to punish the party for its failure to rein in systematic graft marked by high-level corruption scandals and low-level bribery.

India is due to hold general elections by May 2014, and the government could ask more high-ranking officials to redirect their efforts toward campaigning.