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 at the helm of 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 phenomenon of north-India, 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 the Khap 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 were participating in it. He said representatives of at least 50 'khaps' or community courts from across the state participated in the 'mahapanchayat', which came days after another other mahapanchayat was 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 (MSP) system. Those assembled unanimously adopted a resolution to revoke the three contentious farm laws.