Washington: Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has an advice for American poll watchers: Don't waste too much time on predicting India's 2014 election as the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is set to emerge winner.
The "caution" to Carnegie Endowment for International Peace came Thursday on learning that one of America's oldest think tanks has launched an "India Decides 2014" initiative to keep track of India's crucial parliamentary polls next year.
"I wish you all the best in this exercise, but may I tell you in advance that your study will discover that India will vote my government back to power," said Chidambaram.
"I thought I may caution you lest you should waste too much time and effort to figure this out," he added, evoking laughter from an audience which included senior Obama administration officials, academicians and corporate executives.
Later, responding to questions, Chidambaram, who is here to attend the International Monetary Fund-World Bank annual meetings, disagreed with a suggestion that the rise of regional parties in India is against its national interest.
"They (regional parties) rise because national parties do not accommodate regional interest as much as they should," in a complex polity like India where national parties are in a sense more like federations, he said.