The mood in Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir, is upbeat on Sunday over the Election Commission's announcement of seven-phased polls for the state assembly from Nov 17 to Dec 24.
Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswamy announced the poll-dates for the 87 assembly seats in Delhi Sunday. The counting of votes would be held Dec 28.
The president of the state unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Ashok Khajuria said: "Our party always wanted the elections to be held in the state on time. We are ready to go to the people".
The National Conference (NC) provincial president for Jammu Ajay Khajuria said: "It was NC that gave democracy in the real sense to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. We have always faced challenges and are ready to face this as well to get a popular government in place."
Bhim Singh, the president of Panthers Party, also expressed happiness over the poll dates being announced and said that his party's stand has been vindicated.
"But we regret one thing that delimitation of assembly constituencies was not held before these elections which was even promised by the Congress party in 2002 before formation of the government," he said.
"This is again discrimination with Jammu region which will get more seats after the delimitation."
The state Congress Committee president Saif-ud-din Soz also welcomed the announcement and said: "We are ready to face the polls and the people".
The man on the street also seemed excited and happy over the announcement of elections.
"This is a good decision and we all should take care that a responsive, people sensitive and honest government is voted to power in Jammu and Kashmir," said Sushil Gupta, a tea stall owner outside the BJP office in the city.
It is for the first time that state elections are being held in seven phases. The state has a total electorate of 6,538,111 and will have over 8,000 polling stations.
There were 6,165,108 electors in the last 2002 assembly elections in which 2,656,627 votes were polled taking the polling percentage to 43.70 per cent. There were 2,884,841 electors in Kashmir Valley out of which 855,310 voted for a 29.64 per cent polling.
While the Jammu region had 3,106,114 voters out of which 1,734,947 voted with 55.85 voting percentage, the poll percentage in Ladakh was 75.91 per cent where two out of the four seats went uncontested.