At a time when Tamil Nadu is worried that the Mannargudi clan could be taking control over the government, speculations doing the rounds seem to be pointing just that way.
For three consecutive days now, starting Wednesday, Chief Minister Pannerselvam and top ministers of the ruling party have been meeting at Poes Garden, the residence of the former Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa where her close aide Sasikala Natarajan also resides.
While Sasikala holds no official position in the AIADMK or the government, the events following Jayalalithaa's death have triggered several questions regarding her and her family's role in the running of the party and state.
Sources told The News Minute that on all days the current Chief Minister O Panneerselvam (OPS) sat next to Sasikala during the meetings.
During the first meeting, Sasikala told the ministers that they need to get on with their work like they used to do before. Assuring them that she'd be there for the party, she told them that work however cannot be stalled.
Be it the hush hush swearing-in of OPS almost immediately after the AIADMK supremo's death was announced on Monday, or Sasikala's family coming out together in the open later that day, eyebrows have been raised since day one.
An AIADMK source said, "These are party meetings, so what is the problem with that?"
However, it was not just party leaders who were at Poes Garden, the state's Director General of Police and Chennai city Police Commissioner too were there.
According to Tamil channels, police sources said that the top police officers were at Poes Garden to meet the Chief Minister. That then begs the question whether O Panneerselvam was running his office out of Poes Garden.
The DMK too has demanded answers.
"If an official government meeting is taking place in Poes Garden, it is against the Constitution. If it is an AIADMK meeting, then we do not have anything to say. It is an internal matter, it is for their cadres and leaders to question the legitimacy of it," said Saravanan, a DMK spokesperson.
Stating that it needs to be clarified if meetings are official ones or just those called by the party, Saravanan added "We have heard that the CM is going there. We hope that he is not getting instructions from Poes Garden to run the government. If that is the case, it is constitutional impropriety that should not happen in a democratic country. But there are official government meetings and Sasikala Natrajan has nothing to do with it whatsoever."