Prem Watsa, “Warren Buffett of Canada”, Bhakt of Narendra Modi
Prem Watsa, the Billionaire founder of Fairfax Financial Holdings, needs no introduction to us.
He is revered by the intelligentsia as the “Warren Buffett of Canada” because of his brilliant investing acumen.
He has single-handed converted his company into a financial powerhouse with an AUM of $37 Billion and amassed a massive personal fortune of USD 2 Billion.
It is evident that we have to pay close attention to the sayings and doings of such a visionary and obediently follow his directives.
Prem Watsa is a die-hard fan of Narendra Modi.
In October 2016, the Billionaire came out with all guns blazing and described NAMO as the “Lee Quan Yew of India”.
(Lee Quan Yew was a legendary leader who converted Singapore into the financial powerhouse it is today).
“Modi is a very hard working man. He has eliminated corruption at the top and I think he is going to do a wonderful, wonderful job over the years. I am hoping he will be re-elected in a few years and re-elected again and India will be transformed during that time,” Watsa had said.
In a discussion with Ramesh Damani, Prem Watsa outlined the several similarities that NAMO shares with Lee Kuan Yew.
No doubt, Ramesh Damani agreed with Prem Watsa’s assessment.
— Tushar Sarda (@TusharSarda) October 5, 2016
Bias against Modi is palpable but Prem Watsa is not one propped up by Modi, right?If such a person wants to invest should media mock? https://t.co/p9Sic4ZKf1
— Sriram (@Raminations) October 5, 2016
NAMO has done fantastic work. India is fortunate to have him
Prem Watsa’s enthusiasm and confidence in NAMO’s leadership abilities have not dimmed in the years that have gone by.
“What Mr Modi has done in the last four years is phenomenal. He eliminated corruption. Demonetisation had a huge impact on black money,” Watsa gushed in his latest interview to ET.
Some short-sighted persons are feeling impatient that the results are not yet seen at the ground level.
Watsa reminded them that India is a gigantic country and that reforms take time to trickle down to the grassroots:
“India is a big country and a huge economy. Some major policies of this government will take time to yield results“, he pointed out.
“Business friendly policies will have money coming back to India and this will just gather momentum as time goes on,” he said.
“The country is fortunate to have Modi as its Prime Minister …. I think Mr Modi has done a fantastic job,” he added emphatically.
(Prem Watsa with NAMO)
We need Modi for another 5 to 10 years
Prem Watsa expressed concern that NAMO may not get a thumping majority in the 2019 elections.
“Are you worried about the 2019 elections where some say Mr Modi may not come back to power?” the interviewer asked.
“Yes,” Watsa replied, his brow furrowed with worry lines.
“My view is that he has done such a fantastic job and this country needs a man like Modi who is self-sacrificing, sleeps 4-5 hours a day, while the rest of the time he is focusing on economic development,” he said.
“I hope the people of India give him a majority government in 2019 and one more term later, so in these 15 years India can transform”.
Prem Watsa took on NAMO’s detractors head-on by reminding them of NAMO’s achievements.
“Look at his track record – with humble beginnings, he worked as a chief minister for 13 years with a 10% growth in his state (Gujarat) and that’s a huge accomplishment,” he thundered with a fiery look in his eyes.
“All citizens there have water, electricity and primary education and now he is running a country with a 1.2 billion population,” he added, implying that the success model of Gujarat would be replicated throughout the Country in due course of time.
(Prem Watsa with Suresh Prabhu)
Return of socialism if NAMO does not come back into power
Prem Watsa was not content with high-lighting NAMO’s achievements.
He warned that without NAMO at the helm, the Country would descend into dreaded socialism and its economic progress will be shackled.
“Modi is providing the country economic freedom. I think we need Modi for another 5 to 10 years and I am sure India will not go back to those old socialistic days,” he said in a grim tone.
NAMO Is “Most Towering Leader”: Rakesh Jhunjhunwala
The endorsement by Prem Watsa of NAMO is in line with that of Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, the Badshah of Dalal Street.
“The fact remains that Modi is the most towering leader of this country as of today … In a range of 1 to 10 if he is 9, the second person is 3,” the Badshah proclaimed.
'@narendramodi is the most towering leader #India has today,' says the #BigBull Rakesh Jhunjhunwala in a #CNBCTV18Exclusive conversation with @ShereenBhan #Markets #Politics #BJP #Elections pic.twitter.com/ogPLDJOxnN
— CNBC-TV18 News (@CNBCTV18News) June 22, 2018
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala exuded confidence that NAMO would storm back into power in 2019 despite all the negativity in the environment.
“I am pretty sure myself, in all my calculations that the next government is going to be a BJP government,” he said in a soothing tone.
— CNBC-TV18 (@CNBCTV18Live) June 21, 2018
Global investors will desert India if NAMO does not return to power
Prem Watsa expressed worries about the unthinkable but did not put it as bluntly as Akash Prakash of Amansa Capital did.
Akash Prakash did not mince any words that without NAMO at the helm, global investors would feel jittery about the fate of the trillions of dollars that they have invested in India.
“At the moment global investors have little faith in any alternative to the current regime,” Akash Prakash said, implying that none of the opposition leaders have leadership qualities and do not inspire any confidence in the foreigners.
I have never been a supporter of the BJP, but I also have no illusions about the Mahagathbandhan
The Modi wave may be over, but what is the alternative? pic.twitter.com/ZYm5ICLlvD
— Markandey Katju (@mkatju) May 31, 2018
Mamta Banerjee is an alternative to NAMO?
According to some intellectuals, Mamta Banerjee is a credible alternative to NAMO.
Read this. It will answer those who say India has no leader apart from the Prime Minister. @MamataOfficial is a remarkable success story. No one can take Bengal away from her. pic.twitter.com/5gMXMguGmG
— Pritish Nandy (@PritishNandy) July 8, 2018
However, the suggestion met with vehement opposition for others.
— Chopdasaab (@Chopdasaab) July 8, 2018
Hah! Give me a break!!
— Sanjay Mehta (@sm63) July 8, 2018
At ths moment in India's history @NarendraModi is India's best bet
Single handedly this man is not just waging a war against Corruption but is thinking long term & leading India's Fiscal Consolidation
Financial inclusion,Aadhar,Digital revolution – Modi is #TransformingIndia.
— Books Columns & Opinions (@indiaonthe_move) July 8, 2018
Is this meant to be a joke??
— Vinay Sanglikar (@vinay_sanglikar) July 8, 2018
Leader??- high emotional imbalance + immaturity + blatantly pursuing minority agenda + changing demographics of Bengal' s border dist n beyond + poor vision + lack of trust..wish Bengal cud lead the country!! Alas!
— Shubhabrata Saha (@ShubhabrataSah3) July 8, 2018
One piddly state leader who’s not even recognised o/side WB . Only servile journalist like you can sing peans about her nonexistent popularity. And who’s publisher? @IndiaToday the ones who employ out on bail journalists like Sardesai. Need I say more?
— Subramanyam Pisupati (@spisupati) July 8, 2018
Some proposed Nitish Kumar as an alternative if there is a fractured mandate.
— Business Standard (@bsindia) July 7, 2018
— Zee News Hindi (@ZeeNewsHindi) July 8, 2018
Stay light in run up to elections: Shankar Sharma
Shankar Sharma, who is also an astute political watcher, warned that the fight between NAMO and the Mahagatbandhan will go down to the wire and create great anxiety for the stock market.
He advised that we should stay light so that we can tolerate the turbulence better.
“I will suggest liquidating the holdings 2-3 months before the elections. Keep some cash with you to buy on dips. I believe whosoever comes to power – BJP, Congress or someone else – the next government is going to be formed through a coalition. Data suggests that the next government is not going to have a majority. The results of 2014 elections can’t be replicated. I feel the market will not like the results of the 2019 elections even if BJP returns to power by forming a coalition government or someone else comes to power,” Shankar said, exhibiting political savviness.
Though Shankar is rabidly anti-NAMO in his views, his advice that we should stay light and avoid turbulence appears to be sensible and we should implement it!