Unrelenting on succession issue in Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Union Minister M K Alagiri on Thursday insisted he would not accept anybody else other than his father and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi as party chief and said he would even contest for the top party post in case of election.
As Alagiri stuck to his guns a day after Karunanidhi had sought to put an end to the succession war, his younger sibling and Deputy Chief Minister M K Stalin downplayed the issue dismissing it as 'media creation'.
"I spoke my mind to a Tamil magazine. I agree with Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's view that the leader should be elected democratically. If there is a contest for the party President's post, I will also contest. But why do we need to talk about all this when Karunanidhi is alive," Alagiri asked.
With the succession controversy continuing, Karunanidhi had on Wednesday said only the party had the powers to name a leader and even he could not do so.
"If there is a democratic election, I will also contest," Alagiri, the Madurai-based son of Karunanidhi, told media persons a day after returning from his overseas tour, reaffirming the position he had been maintaining since the DMK patriarch gave indications about his retirement from active politics.
Stalin, widely projected as the heir to 86-year-old Karunanidhi, however, continued to maintain a low profile on the succession issue.
"It is the creation of the media," Stalin told reporters in Coimbatore denying differences with his brother on the issue.
Before embarking on his foreign tour, Alagiri had stated in an interview last week that Karunanidhi was the only leader capable of leading the party, reigniting the issue of succession.
Stalin's elevation as the Deputy Chief Minister last year and shifting Alagiri to national politics by making him a Union Minister by Karunanidhi were viewed as moves to settle the succession issue.
Karunanidhi had on Wednesday said: "I myself do not know from which year my post-retirement era starts".
Earlier, the veteran leader had sprung a surprise in December saying he planned to quit politics at the end of the World Classical Tamil meet at Coimbatore this June.
Ever since he underwent major spinal cord surgery early last year, Karunanidhi had remained wheelchair bound.
The succession war came to fore after a survey in 2007 by Tamil daily Dinakaran, owned by Karunanidhi's grandnephews Kalanidhi and Dayanidhi Maran, which put Stalin ahead of Alagiri in the race to succeed the DMK chief.
Stalin, who was promoted as Deputy Chief Minister a day after Alagiri was sworn in as Union minister, had been entrusted with the industry portfolio once held by his father.
Alagiri is credited with being instrumental in broadening DMK's base in South Tamil Nadu, once considered an AIADMK bastion, helping it to win all the Lok Sabha seats from the region while Stalin headed the Youth brigade.