Is Vijayan’s son-in-law seeking to expand his influence?

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Ever since his “shock” inclusion as cabinet minister, the ‘new’ son-in-law of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan – P.A. Mohammed Riyas keeps figuring in the news and the latest buzz is that he wants to become the “uncrowned king” of the CPI-M at his home district Kozhikode.

The CPI-M is now gearing up for its upcoming state party conference to be held at Ernakulam next year. Ahead of that, the party elects new office bearers at all levels but in Kozhikode, Riyas, according to those in the know of things, is not very keen on incumbent district Secretary K. Mohanan – who has got the strong backing of Elamaram Kareem, a former state Industries Minister and now a member of the Upper House.

Riyas, who is the state Public Works Department Minister, has been going around visiting guest houses under his department and his last visit to one such guest house in his home district became news, when he took action against two casual employees for not doing their job properly.

His detractors allege that he is playing to the gallery and arrives for inspection with the media in tow.

And when trolled on his actions, he responded by saying: “I am very busy from morning till night and hence I do not get time to see it.”

The sudden arrival and the instant promotion that he got after winning his first Assembly election from Beypore in Kozhikode has left a few others licking their wounds, especially two-time legislator A.N. Shamseer, who has clashed with Riyas inside the Assembly and outside on a few issues, where both were found to have diametrically opposite views and this became a point for the opposition to take on the CPI-M.

A media critic, speaking on condition of anonymity, noted that no one has a doubt of the undue importance that Riyas has got.

“Since it is the CPI-M, things do not surface in the open, like in other parties. But anyone following politics in the state and know the manner in which Vijayan is running the show, both at the party and in the government, knows Riyas has been favoured for obvious reasons. Now with the party heading for its state party conference, one will have to wait a bit more longer to see if Riyas has bitten more than what he can chew,” said the critic.

Also keenly awaited is the fate of Shamseer, with Vijayan already dropping enough hints that Shamseer was wrong and now all it remains to be seen is will Shamseer retain his place in the state committee of the CPI-M, the most powerful decision-making body of the party.

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