The stand taken by the Election Commission on the conduct of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir has set aside all speculations especially when the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said the situation is not conducive. However, the timing would be a crucial factor especially when the winter is slowly setting in the Valley and Ladakh besides the higher reaches of the Jammu region. Questions have been raised over the suitability of holding elections now in the wake of the devastation the State suffered due to floods. Thousands of people have been rendered homeless in Srinagar and parts of the Valley, where the administration is involved in the process of rehabilitation. Though the CEC did not specify the time for deciding on the polls the same will be done soon after receiving all inputs, including the ground situation, reports from State poll authorities and their own besides views of various political parties. The six-year term of the 87-member Assembly is expiring on 5th January. In any case elections have to be held before the stipulated time frame or else imposing the Governor’s Rule. The opposition Peoples Democratic Party as also the Congress have made the position known on holding the elections on time. PDP Patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s latest statement over the elections reflects willingness in the political circles to go for early polls so that the prevailing uncertainty and ‘economic mess’ could be overcome. “The democratic deficit in a major way contributed to political instability but the elections during the past decade and especially the recent Lok Sabha polls have invested the electoral process with a much needed credibility”, he has stated . The former Chief Minister said the fact that people have now realised that the power of vote will make every government and political party accountable to them, is the essence of democracy. No government can henceforth disregard people’s aspirations and still hope to be in political field, Mufti had asserted. Sayeed said while internally the democratic institutions need to be strengthened, on the external front there was no visible alternative to reconciliation and dialogue between India and Pakistan. Will the polls be held on time, is a question looming large on political parties?