Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait on Wednesday made headlines after addressing a Kisan 'Mahapanchayat' in the heart of Haryana. The farm leader who has spent over two months helming the protest against three farm laws even brought up the topic of 'gaddi wapsi' for the BJP-led government.
"We have so far talked about "bill wapsi" (repealing the farm laws). The government should listen carefully. What will you do if the youth call for "gaddi wapsi" (removal from power)?" he said.
What is a mahapanchayat?
Simply put, a mahapanchayat is a congregation of people from several neighbouring areas, led by local leaders in rural areas.
A panchayat is a village council to which elections are held routinely, and the leader is often called the mukhiya or sarpanch.
This is, however, different from a khap panchayat. Primarily a North India phenomenon, a khap is a community organisation that exerts significant influence, even as it holds no official government recognition or authority. A khap spans multiple villages, and it is the group's elders that form its panchayat.
Who organised the recent mahapanchayat?
Wednesday's event was organised by Kandela 'khap' President Tekram Kandela. According to him, all 'khaps' or community courts—with representatives of at least 50 khaps from across the state in attendance—participated in it. This 'mahapanchayat' follows the one held in Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh.
What happened at the event?
Calling for a "wapsi" (withdrawal) of the new central laws, Tikait on Wednesday indirectly warned the Narendra Modi government that it could lose its "gaddi" (power) if the agitation continues. He asked the Centre to repeal the three laws and frame a new one to assure continuation of the minimum support price system. Those assembled unanimously adopted a resolution to revoke the three contentious laws.