‘Panchayat’ Season 3 Ending Explained & Series Recap: Who Shot Pradhan Ji?

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Amazon Prime Video’s most popular show in India, Panchayat has returned with its third season this week, with a more emphasis on its politics this time around. The release interestingly takes place right amidst the integral Lok Sabha elections in India, and just like every other public forum of discussion at the moment, Panchayat season 3 is also all about local politics and its various complexities. The plot now puts a lot of focus on the troublemaking villager, Bhushan, who dreams of becoming the next Pradhan, or chief, of the village panchayat in the upcoming elections. Overall, Panchayat season 3 faces a shift in tone as it gets more serious in terms of its commentary, but the strong characters and writing still make it quite an enjoyable affair.

Spoiler Alert


What is season 3 about?

Panchayat season 3 begins with the protagonist, Abhishek Tripathi, in a very different setting, for he is back at home in the city, still preparing for the CAT examinations to fulfill his dream of studying MBA. As he discusses everyday matters with his friend Aditya, Abhishek still seems preoccupied with thoughts of Phulera, despite the very urban setting all around and the easy lifestyle he has been living for the past few days. At the end of season 2, the women in the village of Phulera, led by their very own Pradhan, Manju Devi, had stopped the corrupt MLA Chandrakishore Singh from entering the place and using the mournful occasion of the death of Prahlad’s son for his own political agenda. This had resulted in Singh immediately ordering a transfer for Phulera’s beloved Sachiv or panchayat secretary, and Abhishek’s time in the village had seemingly ended. At the beginning of season 3, it is confirmed that Abhishek has indeed been transferred to a new village panchayat named Bhayapur, but he has not joined the job. In fact, he has no intention of joining at all and instead prepares to drop his resignation letter from the government post of secretary.

As Abhishek struggles to keep his focus entirely on the CAT exam preparations, for he is often swayed by thoughts of Phulera and especially his romantic interest, Rinki, the situation is actually quite dire in the village. The revered Pradhan ji, Brij Bhushan Dubey (who is still referred to as the chief, despite his wife now holding the position), is absolutely hell-bent on not letting the new Sachiv join the post. His wishes are still definitively upheld by the assistant, Vikas, and the deputy chief (upa-pradhan), Prahlad, even though the latter is still entirely engulfed in grief and despair. Panchayat season 2’s most memorable moment was when Prahlad was informed of his son, Rahul’s, death while serving in the Indian Army, and the father hasn’t been able to move on from the loss, which is why his life is in a state of disarray. Amidst such a scenario, Bhushan, the villager with high political ambitions, still tries to hurt the image of Brij Bhushan and Manju Devi, and he now finds a new aide in the form of the despicable MLA, Chandrakishore Singh.


How does Abhishek return to Phulera?

It is by sheer luck that the protagonist, Abhishek Tripathi, actually gets to return to Phulera, retaining his post as the Sachiv, even after getting transferred elsewhere and deciding to quit the service altogether. This chain of events begins with MLA Sharma being accused of a heinous crime—that of killing his neighbor’s dog out of rivalry and hatred towards the man. While the law and the administration only take note of this abhorrent act of animal cruelty, rumors in the area even state that Sharma had not just killed the dog but had eaten up its meat, too. Although the rumor is never actually proven or perhaps even investigated, Sharma is immediately arrested by the police for his supposed murder and imprisoned till the investigation goes on. This naturally leads to all the orders and directives that he had made in recent times getting halted and nullified, meaning that the appointment of the new panchayat sachiv at Phulera, along with the transfer of the previous one, is also canceled. Although he is later released on bail, Singh’s powers as the MLA are frozen until he can win the by-elections once again.

Thus, Abhishek gets the golden opportunity to return to the village, much to the jubilation of most of the villagers, and he really does not take too much convincing. Abhishek had not only made very strong bonds with the villagers at Phulera, but he had also taken a very special interest in Pradhan Ji’s daughter, Rinki. In fact, all of the communications between Phulera and Abhishek throughout the time when he was away were conducted by Rinki, who was also always in search of opportunities to speak with the protagonist. Both the characters are romantically interested in each other, and their bond is developed throughout season 3, even though they are too shy to admit it. Eventually, it requires the encouragement of Rinki’s friend, Raveena, and her husband, Ganesh (the same brash and arrogant bridegroom from the previous season), for the two to eventually express their mutual attraction. 


Did Bhushan tarnish Brij Bhushan’s and Manju Devi’s Reputation?

Bhushan, the villager who had been introduced in season 2 as someone whose sole interest in life is to downplay the panchayat chief and his wife, takes on an even bigger role in this year’s season 3. He is now even more determined to find faults in the panchayat administration and to replace himself and his wife in the roles of Pradhan Ji and Manju Devi. Therefore, he immediately tries to side with the new Sachiv when he arrives in Phulera and works hard to turn him against Brij Bhushan and his associates. When this plot fails, he moves on to a different plan, together with his two sidekicks, Binod and Madhav, and also his ever-supportive wife, Kranti Devi. Realizing that Abhishek has reunited with Manju Devi and her family, the opposition team plans a direct attack on the reputation of the Dubey family.

This matter is directly linked with the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, a real-life subsidy scheme in India that helps villagers in need get help from the government in building homes for themselves. Who gets to benefit from the scheme is determined by the panchayat administration after a serious investigation into whether the applicants are in dire need of the funds. One of the twelve people who receive the subsidy in the first allotment is a certain Damayanti Devi, whose odd case has put Abhishek in a fix. Damayanti wanted to have her own home, despite her family living in a properly constructed establishment, for she did not want to intrude on the privacy of her grandson, Jagmohan. Although Abhishek gets to know of this whole situation, which basically means that the elderly woman wants to fraud her way into getting the government subsidy, he agrees to help her out. This is only because Pradhan Ji and Manju Devi want to hide the dire conditions of the roads in Phulera, and he essentially does them a favor.

Although Bhushan is not sharp enough to figure out this shady deal, he uses the PM Awas Yojana allotments to attack Pradhan ji by claiming that he was exercising favoritism. Brij Bhushan and his family live in West Phulera and also admittedly get more votes from this side of the town, which is why he selectively ensures that seven families from his side of the town are helped with the subsidy. The residents of Phulera East, on the other hand, including our very own Bhushan, are mostly against the current panchayat administration and are mostly neglected. Only four families are given the subsidy, and this misstep clearly highlights how Brij Bhushan is a flawed politician. Even Manju Devi points out to him how he cannot exercise favoritism so openly, and his aides like Abhishek and Prahlad also criticize his move. Most importantly, this issue is used by Bhushan to divide the villagers, at least temporarily, and wedge a distance between those living in the west and east parts of Phulera. 

When MLA Chandrakishore Singh is released from jail on bail, Bhushan quickly makes use of the same issue to form an informal allegiance with the man. The MLA already hated Pradhan ji and his family, and especially Abhishek, which makes him readily grant his support to Bhushan, who is really the only opposition to the Dubeys. In this sense, Bhushan’s character deserves some credit, as he shows some political shrewdness, although most of his efforts ultimately end in failure because of his ill intentions. As part of this new allegiance, MLA Singh agrees to forget matters from the past and attend a peace meeting at Phulera village, during which he clearly shows more respect and support for Bhushan. The man even takes his lunch at Binod’s house, which is an outright denial of Brij Bhushan’s hospitality, but the whole event takes a very different turn in the end, leading to more trouble for Bhushan.


Why does MLA Singh attack the villagers of Phulera?

Although Chandrakishore Singh remains his rowdy and villainous self, just like in the previous season, there is quite some legal pressure on him that troubles his plans this time around. The season begins with the sudden news of Singh’s arrest because of the allegations that he has killed his neighbor’s dog, which he himself obviously denies all throughout. Going by the hot-headed and impulsive nature of the man, together with his extremely violent tendencies, it is very possible that he had indeed killed the pet. But as is common with politicians in India, Singh is granted bail within a day or two, and he is released from jail to continue with his efforts at avenging his disrespect at Phulera. He testifies in court about being a generous lover of animals, to the point of not even consuming meat. While the first part of the statement is sort of true, for he is indeed very attached to a horse at his estate, Singh absolutely gorges on the mutton at Binod’s house after ensuring that nobody photographs him in the act.

The visit to Phulera soon backfires massively for Singh and Bhushan when the MLA wants to release a white pigeon as a sign of truce and peace between him and the villagers. Although no white pigeon can be arranged at such short notice, Abhishek and Vikas manage to get hold of a bird from a man named Bum Bahadur, who runs a trade-in breeding pigeons at his home. Singh probably plans the act as a publicity stunt to cleanse his public image and prove himself to be a real animal lover, but it all goes wrong when he holds the bird too tight, leading to the pigeon falling dead as soon as he releases it. This not only gets the villagers riled up against him and forces Singh to flee Phulera once again, but the incident creates a lot of pressure on him as well when Bum Bahadur is interviewed by some local journalists, and the MLA is considered a repeat animal abuser.

Although Singh tries to punish Bum Bahadur for his interview, even hiring goons to beat him up, the villager ultimately triumphs in this battle with the help of the other villagers in Phulera. Around this very time, Singh is also advised by his astrologer to get rid of the horse in his estate, which probably has nothing to do with astrology at all, and the aide simply tries to help out the MLA since allegations about the horse being mistreated can also be started by the opposition. Thus, Singh agrees to reluctantly sell off the horse, and the panchayat council at Phulera decides to use this situation to show their superiority over him. Nothing would hurt MLA Singh more than the realization that his beloved horse had been bought by villagers from Phulera, and this is exactly what happens. Abhishek arranges for Raveena and Ganesh to pose as buyers, and Prahlad gives away the entire four lakh rupees that the government gave him after the passing of Rahul as payment for the animal. 

When Singh finally learns of this through Bhushan, he is absolutely livid, and he leads his entire group of henchmen and security guards to Phulera with the sole intention of attacking the villagers. He still villainously looks down upon the villagers, but Pradhan Ji and his lot do not give up, and they themselves prepare for a fight. Ultimately, it is the political superior of MLA Singh, the Member of Parliament under whose ordinance he works, who calls up the man and reminds him of the shrewdness required in politics. Clearly, Singh has neither the perseverance nor the aptitude required by a politician, and he is only a brute. The words of the MP do have an effect on him, though, and he finally leaves Phulera without causing any harm while his beloved horse is reared by Prahlad from now on.


Who Shot Pradhan Ji?

Panchayat season 3 ends with a mystery, which will only be solved when the next season arrives, for episode 8 closes with a very serious attack on Pradhan ji. Fifteen days after the incident with MLA Singh, Abhishek prepares to travel to Kanpur to take the CAT examinations, and his closest friends at Phulera accompany him to the bus stand. At this time, two gunmen with their faces completely covered attack the men, and although Abhishek is able to board the bus and leave, Vikas, Prahlad, and Brij Bhushan are cornered by the goons once again. They ultimately shoot Pradhan Ji, leaving him hospitalized, and Abhishek rushes back to Phulera after he is informed about the incident once his exams are over. 

Who actually shoots Pradhan Ji, or who orders the hit on him, remains a mystery till the end of the season. Although MLA Singh seems to be the most likely suspect at first, he denies any involvement, stating that if he wanted to attack Pradhan ji, then he would have ensured to kill him. Moreover, Singh getting involved in such a major incident right when he is already facing trouble from the law, and that too right before the panchayat elections, seems quite unlikely. Although Bhushan is always scheming against the Dubey family, he does not seem to be the kind to order armed attacks on the village chief. An alternate theory is provided by Singh: Pradhan ji must have arranged for an attack on himself to falsely put the blame on him and Bhushan, who are his rivals in the election, and also to gain sympathy from the villagers. Ever since Prahlad announced that he would not be contesting the elections, Pradhan ji has indeed been quite worried about the results since Prahlad is loved by all the villagers. Also, considering that Brij Bhushan is not exactly the brightest politician, this theory of launching an attack on himself might even be a possibility. However, it is still an extremely high risk, as Pradhan ji luckily survives the attack as the bullets hit his shoulders.

A third set of suspects might actually be the local goons for hire, Bablu, and Dablu, who had already had a spat with Pradhan Ji and his friends in season 2. In season 3, they are hired by MLA Singh to beat up Bum Bahadur, which they fail to do and are humiliated by the man. Therefore, it is possible that they shot Pradhan Ji as a sort of gift for Singh, which will definitely enrage the MLA even more. However, the fact that the shooters actually ask who Pradhan ji is means that they are not aware of the men from Phulera, and if Bablu and Dablu are involved, then they must have hired other goons to do their job. Lastly, it might be possible that the MP himself might have called this hit on Pradhan ji as a sort of gift for MLA Chandrakishore Singh, further strengthening their allegiance since he knew that the Phulera village ex-chief was Singh’s enemy. The real perpetrator and reason behind this attack will ultimately be revealed in Panchayat season 4, though, whenever it arrives, along with the fate of the panchayat election.

Panchayat season 3’s ending also has Abhishek getting involved in an ugly fight with Singh and his men, which leads to him getting arrested. He already considers what consequences this arrest might have on his future career, and it might very well be that Abhishek will finally clear the CAT exams, but he won’t be able to attend college at IIM because of this arrest record.


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Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya Sur Roy
Sourya keeps an avid interest in all sorts of films, history, sports, videogames and everything related to New Media. Holding a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies, he is currently working as a teacher of Film Studies at a private school and also remotely as a Research Assistant and Translator on a postdoctoral project at UdK Berlin.

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