Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday remained non-commital on the timing of assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir but asserted that his government will ensure free and fair polls in the state.
"... In democracy, elections are the only way to test popularity. The government is committed to ensure free and fair polls in the state," Singh told reporters in response to a question here.
However, the Prime Minister did not address the part of the question whether elections would be held on time in the state.
The Governor's Rule, which was imposed in the state after collapse of PDP-Congress government, comes to an end on January 10. The term of the dissolved assembly would have expired on November two.
Singh also appealed to people of the state to choose ballot over bullet and take part in the elections to chose their representatives.
"It is my earnest appeal to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to take advantage of the opportunity because ballot, not the bullet, is going to decide their destiny," he added.
The Prime Minister requested all the political parties in the state to help in ending the communal and regional divide which surfaced following the agitation on Amarnath land transfer row.
"My request to all political parties is that the communal tension and regional tension should be ended. Jammu and Kashmir has its own tradition ... Communal and regional harmony are the order of the day," he said.
On the demands of some mainstream political parties for revoking the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Singh said it was too early to consider them.