Caught in the midst of sibling rivalry involving his two sons to gain control of the party, octogenarian DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Wednesday said he would contest for the top party post next year "if I am alive".
"I will contest (for the post) If I am alive after one year," he told reporters here in what is seen as a message to his sons union Minister M K Alagiri and M K Stalin to put an end to the tug of war on the succession issue.
Initially reluctant to answer the query whether he would contest the organisational election, the 89-year old Karunanidhi said a year was still left for it but spoke about him contesting again when prodded more by the reporters.
DMK, smarting from its poor show in the April 2011 assembly elections, is dogged by intra-party differences between the camps headed by Alagiri and Stalin.
The succession issue has remained unresolved with Alagiri coming out openly saying in the past he would not accept any leader other than Karunanidhi while supporters of Stalin lose no opprtunity to push for his elevation.
The monolithic DMK, known for discipline in its ranks, had recently appointed a committee to look into the matter with Karunanidhi himself declaring that trouble-makers would be watched carefully.
On the statement by Dravidar Kazhagam leader K Veeramani backing A P J Abdul Kalam for a second term as President, the DMK chief said, "that is his view. I don't differ from that."
He, however, recalled that he had conveyed to Congress emissary and Defence Minister A K antony the party's stand on the presidential candidate during their meeting recently.
On May 5, Karunanidhi said he had no objection if Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee was chosen as UPA's Presidential candidate.