Lata Bharbore (W)

A young tribal Bheel, Lata Bhabore, was born into a very poor family and has been fighting for tribal rights for long in the tribal areas of Madhya Pradesh. Daughter of Shri Bhabore, an employee of MPEB, Lata did her schooling in the village of Shahid Chandra Shekhar Azad. Her father was bed-ridden for nearly four years due to the electric shock during his duty, which put the entire family in extreme financial distress. As a result, Lata could study only till Class X In 2012, she and her husband decided to join the CPI(M), but the local administration went into action and arrested both of them under SC/ST Act for false reasons to victmise them for their activity among the tribals. Later, when Lata strongly opposed the action against her on the basis of SC/ST Act, questioning how the Act could be used against her when she herself was a tribal, administration released her. After coming out of jail with help from the CPI(M), a top administrative officer told Lata that you and your husband can join any party other than CPI(M). But Lata and her husband were determined. After joining CPI(M), Lata and her husband have been arrested twice. The State Government, ruled by BJP, tried to harass the couple, along with other tribal comrades. They even clamped the NSA on Lata’s husband, Edwin Eldons. At present, Lata is active in organising Dais (midwives) of Jhabua district, most of whom are tribal women and are the backbone of rural maternity services. She is spearheading a struggle for their absorption in various jobs, such as mid-day meal workers or helpers in governmenrt hospitals.

Jhabua-Ratlam (ST)-Key Issues
Jhabua, a predominantly tribal district, has a better sex ratio at birth is 942, but the issues that Lata is taking up relate to low immunisation of children. Only 19.4% children are fully immunised, only 37 % deliveries are institutional, only 1.7% population has safe tap water facility, and 93% households do not have drainage facility. This is the condition of tribal district of a BJP-ruled state, a party which is projected its ‘development’ as a ‘model’. This tribal district is rich in manganese and rock phosphate, particularly Meghnagar, but the profits of mineral reserve go to `the bigwigs’ of BJP and Cong. The other parts of this constituency are in Ratlam district, where CPI(M) has a strong base among farmers, particularly tribals under the Adivasi Ekta Mahasabha. Ratlam city also has a tradition of labour movement since 1946 and retained its secular fibre of society even in the troubled days of 1947, 1992 and after the Gujarat riots in 2002.