Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has removed Union Fertiliser Minister M K Alagiri and Textile Minister Dayanidhi Maran from two key sub-committees of the Union Cabinet.
Both Alagiri and Maran are leaders of the Congress's ally Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam.
Political pundits have interpreted this step as a severe blow to the DMK.
In the wake of the multi-crore 2G spectrum scam, involving DMK leader and then telecom minister A Raja, the PM has been careful about allocating sensitive positions to the party's leaders.
Alagiri and Maran have been removed from the Sub-committee on Economic Affairs and Sub-committee on Infrastructure respectively.
In spite of assertions by both Congress and DMK that their ties remain unaffected by the spectrum scam, insiders consider this step as a warning to the regional party.
The Cabinet functions with several sub committees, most crucial of which are the Cabinet Committee on Appointments, the Cabinet Committee on Political affairs and the Cabinet Committee on Security.