After years of dithering, DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi on Thursday almost announced his political successor - his younger son MK Stalin.
"I will work till my death for the upliftment of the Dalit community. After my lifetime it will be Stalin whom you should not forget. The answer for who after me is Stalin," said Karunanidhi at his party office.
The 88-year-old DMK chief was addressing party cadre at a function in which over 2,000 Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) workers joined the DMK. His remarks were welcomed with loud cheers.
Karunanidhi had more than once given enough hints that Stalin was his political heir-apparent, an issue that had led to sibling rivalry with MK Alagiri, the elder son and Union minister.
Karunanidhi 'thanked' the PMK leadership for driving its volunteers and workers to the DMK fold by their alienating utterances.
He assured the newcomers that being the father-in-law of a Dalit - Alagiri's wife Gandhi - he would fight till his last for their betterment.
Karunanidhi hit out at PMK chief S Ramadoss, for "unnecessarily" dragging him into controversies.
Ramadoss' recent attempt to bring together leaders of various castes on a common platform to campaign against inter-caste marriages involving Dalits drew sharp reaction from major political parties, with Karunanidhi describing it as a "dangerous trend".
Ever since 59-year old Stalin was given prominence in the party and elevated as deputy chief minister in 2009, there have been indications that he will succeed Karunanidhi.
Alagiri had, however, openly resented such hints saying he would not accept anyone else other than his father as his leader.
The Madurai strongman, who is two years older than Stalin, had a couple of months ago expressed his unhappiness over selection of party functionaries in his home turf, particularly in the youth wing headed by Stalin.