Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M Karunanidhi on Thursday gave the clearest ever hint of of his successor, naming party treasurer and his younger son M K Stalin as his heir-apparent.
"Till my last breath I will work for the upliftment of the society. To the question as to who will carry on this work after me, you should not forget Stalin, who is sitting here," Karunanidhi said at a function on Thursday.
The announcement by the 88-year-old DMK patriarch at a function during which over 2,000 Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) members joined the DMK, evoked loud applause from party cadres.
The statement was the clearest backing for 59-year-old Stalin by the DMK chief since the party´s crushing defeat in the 2011 Tamil Nadu elections.
The move also appeared to put to rest the purported debate over the rivalry between Stalin and Karunanidhi´s elder son and Union minister M K Alagiri.
It comes as the party prepares for organisational elections later this year.