Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s daughter Veena Tayikkandiyil and PA Mohammed Riyas, the president of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), are set to start a new life together. The duo will get married in Thiruvananthapuram on June 15, sources said.
Riyas, who spoke to The Federal over the phone, did not elaborate on the wedding plan. “I will let you know about the wedding in due course,” said the youth leader. “Both of us have been divorced for some years now,” Riyas said.
Riyas is the son of PM Abdul Khader, a retired IPS officer from Kozhikode. He has been the President of the DYFI since 2017. Riyaz, a lawyer, had unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha election from Kozhikode constituency in 2009. He was defeated by MK Raghavan of the Congress by a wafer-thin margin of 838 votes.
Veena, an Engineering graduate in Information Technology from the Bharathiar University, has been running her start-up venture, Exalogic Solutions, based in Bangalore. She started her career in Oracle in 2004 and became the CEO of RP Tech Soft International, owned by industrialist Ravi Pillai, in 2012. She quit the job in 2014, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Veena’s employment in Ravi Pillai’s company was a hot debate within the CPI(M) that had been reeling under factionalism between 2005 and 2014, when Vijayan was the state secretary of the party. Even recently, Veena’s name was dragged into the Sprinklr data transaction controversy with Congress leaders accusing her of having connections with the American company. However, they failed to prove the allegation.
After the news of their marriage came in, social media was flooded with greetings. Inter-religious marriages are not so uncommon among comrades in Kerala. “An inter-religious marriage was not a piece of news earlier. But because of the increasing religious polarisation, it has become a point of adoration,” AA Rahim, the state secretary of DYFI and a close friend of Riyas, told The Federal.
“Besides, people coming out of previous relationships and getting married again is still a taboo in the society. However, both of them have given a very progressive message to the society,” he said. Rahim had married his friend and comrade Amrutha, a Hindu by birth. He wished a long and happy married life to Riyas and Veena.
Former president of the DYFI and ex-Lok Sabha member MB Rajesh had married Ninitha Kanicheri, who was born into Islam. She was a central committee member of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and former union chairperson of the Calicut University.
Examples galore for camaraderie turning into conjugality beyond the boundaries of religion in Kerala’s Left political circle. The state has a long history of such marriages right from the first Left government to the current one.
KR Gouri Amma and her then-husband TV Thomas were ministers in the first Cabinet. Following the split in the Communist Party, they parted ways. J Mercy Kutty Amma, the incumbent minister for fisheries, is married to Thulasidhara Kurup, a member of the Kollam district committee of the CPI(M).
Annie Raja and CPI general secretary D Raja got married when both were state and national-level leaders of the Party. Annie was a member of the state council and the assistant secretary of Mahila Samgham (the Women’s wing) and D Raja was the national secretary of All India Youth Federation (AIYF) when they got married in 1990.
“It was a marriage initiated by the party,” recollects Annie in a conversation with The Federal. The marriage was solemnised by former Chief Minister and CPI leader PK Vasudevan Nair. “Even the invitation letter had his name, not my parents’,” she said.