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Kamal Nath, free-market envoy walks a lonely road

Kamal Nath, free-market envoy walks a lonely road

He has lost the Commerce Ministry to Anand Sharma.

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New Delhi: Kamal Nath, who entered politics courtesy Sanjay Gandhi and strongly believed in the Gandhi scion's socialist vision, today represents everything that is 'free-market' and was among the top high-flying ministers in his previous role as Commerce and Industry Minister.

But now in the second UPA term, his portfolio of Road Transport and Highways would see him focus on a sector which somehow remained neglected in the past five years.

He successfully built a connect with the global audience, be it in Geneva at World Trade Organisation or in picturesque Swiss locales of Davos for World Economic Forum, and projected India as an emerging economic tiger before the world.

Still, he never lost base with Chhindwara, a backward and predominantly tribal constituency in Madhya Pradesh, which has elected Nath to the Lok Sabha as many as eight times.

When not flying for international trade negotiations, Nath has been busy advocating special economic zones to boost manufacturing. SEZ, a designated duty free enclave that is treated as foreign territory for trade operations, has been a bone of contention between the Finance and Commerce Ministries over revenue flows, while it has given ruling parties headaches over land acquisition.

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