Justice Ramesh Ranganathan of the High Court on Tuesday directed the State Election Commission (SEC) to conduct elections to the nine gram panchayts around Hyderabad immediately.

The judge was disposing of writ petitions filed by several villagers of these panchayats. They contended that the proposed merger with the GHMC did not materialise and the government withdrew the merger proposal on January 7, 2014. The petitioners said they had a right to have elected bodies. The nine gram panchayats are Nizampet, Kokapet, Gandipet, Himayathsagar, Hydershakotla, Peerancheruvu, Kismatpur, Puppalaguda and Vattinagulapally. The judge said that the election process will be completed by April 15.

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