Union Minister MK Alagiri and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam member of Parliament Kanimozhi, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's children from different wives, were travelling from Chennai to New Delhi by the same Indian Airlines flight on Tuesday.
Both were seated in the executive class, but did not speak to or look at each other, leave alone exchange pleasantries, revealed sources.
This is the first time that these two have found themselves in such an awkward situation.
Alagiri and Kanimozhi, after touching down in New Delhi, walked to the airport bus to board it, but still avoided looking at each other.
Senior bureaucrats and police officials working with the Government of India and the government of Tamil Nadu, who were fellow travellers on the flight, also did not have a word with Kanimozhi, although many officials went over to Alagiri to say 'Vanakkam.' The special representative of the state government in Delhi, Selvendran, was the only one to talk to Kanimozhi.
Kanimozhi's name was recently in the news as the Central Bureau of Investigation raided the Chennai premises of an NGO linked to her while probing into the 2G spectrum scam. Prior to that, she was among the many people who were exposed as discussing the telecom portfolio with corporate lobbyist Niira Radia in the days before government formation in 2009.
At the Chennai airport, said the sources, Alagiri watched Kanimozhi talking to Janata Party president Dr Subramanian Swamy which left him red-faced, and he walked off to a different VVIP lounge.
Alagiri and his brother MK Stalin are learnt to have conveyed to Karunanidhi that Kanimozhi should not have been given the freedom to speak so casually to Radia. But Karunanidhi is still supportive of Kani, according to family sources.
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MPs who were also travelling in the same aircraft as the two were heard commenting that the cold war in the Karunanidhi family was now so out in the open that brother and sister wore a grim look in public as well. They also wondered what would be the future of this family if their leader Jayalalithaa returned to power in Tamil Nadu.
The MPs also speculated that after Karunanidhi, it will be much more difficult for the DMK. And that Kanimozhi would need political protection from Stalin and Alagiri.
Even at Alagiri's son's marriage in Madurai recently, daughter Kani and her mother Rajathi were missing from among the 38 members of the Karunanidhi family in the group photo taken with the patriarch.