New Delhi: Terming it as "well in time", Congress has welcomed the announcement of holding of the Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir, even as National Conference, which leads the alliance government in the state felt the time was "not opportune" for the electoral exercise.
"A new government will have a greater authority to deal with the post-flood situation in the state. Rehabilitation is a gigantic task under these circumstances.
"When we are neck-deep in rescue and relief operations, one totally forgets as and when and how elections will take place. But my personal opinion is sooner the election the better it is," said Ghulam Nabi Azad, Leader of Opposition (Rajya Sabha) and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister.
He said that the timely elections in the flood-hit Jammu and Kashmir state will help the people of the state for their speedy rehabilitation as the new government will start relief and rehabilitation operation afresh.
Azad had earlier also batted for timely assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir.
Reacting to the EC's decision to hold a five-phased election in Jammu and Kashmir between November 25 and December 20, the National Conference today said that it was not an opportune time for the elections in the state as it was reeling under the aftermaths of the devastating floods and decided to hold deliberations to work on the future course of action for the party.
"Now that the Election Commission of India has in its wisdom announced the schedule for the elections in the state, the National Conference will internally discuss and decide the further course of action," NC General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar said.
Polling will take place on November 25, December 2, 9, 14 and 20 in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath told reporters here.
Counting of votes will take place on December 23, he said.
With the announcement of elections, the Model Code of Conduct comes into effect immediately.
The current six-year term of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly ends on January 19.