retail sector, we must also pay greater attention to the task of defending the interests of small traders and shopkeepers.

11. We also have campus-based or hostel-based work among students in several cities and towns but very limited work among the youth. Here again it is the area/social dimension that is neglected, if not entirely missing, in our work. Party work among students/youth must emphasise the aspect of integration with and involvement in the broader democratic movement, taking up of people’s issues in areas of Party work, and even developing new areas of Party work.

12. Young women, students or working women, are a growing presence in urban India. But the increased visibility, mobility and relative freedom of women is often met with a patriarchal backlash, an aggressive assertion of reactionary patriarchal norms and prejudices. As the recent countrywide spread of the women’s movement clearly showed, the women’s movement has already emerged as a most powerful strand of popular awakening and the Party organization in urban areas must take up work on the women’s front in real earnest, rather than leaving it to the available women comrades alone. Special efforts must be made to organize various sections of working women from the most vulnerable sections like construction workers and domestic helps to women engaged in the wide-ranging service sector.

13. Party organisations in urban areas, especially in metropolitan cities and major urban centres, must also maintain close ties with the progressive intelligentsia, cultural and media circles, lawyers with a positive approach to human rights and various issues of public interest, and activists of various movements.

14. In most cities, communal prejudice fanned up by right- wing outfits, and reinforced by the state-machinery’s witch-hunt of minorities in the name of counter-terrorism, has made minorities especially vulnerable. Enforced ghettoisation is common, with minorities often denied housing except in certain designated ‘minority’ settlements. While remaining ever vigilant against communal politics and for the rights of minority communities, we must treat the anti-communal agenda as an integral part of the broader democratic concerns facing the minorities, issues concerning livelihood and equal access and opportunities for development with dignity. Chauvinistic targeting of migrant workers and students too is rampant in many cities. We must stand by the beleaguered regional/ethnic migrants in resisting such profiling and violence. Likewise, we must also defend dalits, minorities and women against casteist, communal and patriarchal violence.

15. With growing privatization and commercialization, the issue of basic amenities has acquired greater importance in urban work. While power-cuts and water shortage are a common feature in most cities and towns, the rates are going up continuously and bills often show hugely inflated amounts. Healthcare, education, public transport and water are also equally important concerns for all urban poor and middle class households. The urban poor are increasingly being priced out of the basic amenities. We tend to take up all these issues when some crisis erupts, but we need to lay stress on planned and sustained efforts to build up campaigns and struggles on these sensitive issues of urban life.

16. Party organizations in urban areas must pay greater attention to ensuring effective intervention in municipal affairs and elections. Because of our generally weak base in urban areas and lack of focused attention to developing area-based work, our participation in municipal elections remains rather low-key. Only in the corporations of Patna and Ara in Bihar have we been able to win some victories in municipal elections thanks to our round-the-year work and overall profile. The Party must raise the level of its urban work and influence so as to acquire a greater profile in municipal elections in all our major urban centres of work.