It's a classic battle.

In four phases starting September 16, the terrorist-infested state of Jammu & Kashmir will find out which is mightier --- the Ballot or the Bullet.

It is not the first time that such a momentous election is taking place in India. Punjab ten years ago witnessed a similar battle between the will of the people and the will of the terrorists.

Back then the Akalis had boycotted the election. And only 10-15 per cent of the electorate had turned out to vote. But, ultimately, that proved more than enough to crush the power of the gun.

The election in Jammu & Kashmir, however, remains unique, for a different reason. Never before, not even in Punjab, has an election to a state assembly in India drawn so much attention worldwide.

Not just the foreign press, but diplomats from several countries too are monitoring, even if only unofficially, the democratic process in the border state, where more than 30,000 people have been killed over the last 13 years.

But whether this election will prove a watershed in the process of resolving the problem of Jammu & Kashmir, only time will tell.

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