Signalling resumption of the family feud over DMK stalwart M Karunanidhi's legacy days after his death, his estranged son M K Alagiri claimed on Monday all loyal party workers were with him and that the DMK will "dig its own grave" if it does not take him back.
Karunanidhi had expelled Alagiri and his supporters from the party in 2014 at the height of his fight with his younger brother M K Stalin over establishing supremacy in Tamil Nadu's main opposition party.
Stalin is now the working president of the DMK and looks set to assume its reins.
Alagiri today paid tributes to his father at his grave on the Marina Beach and fulminated against Stalin, whom he accused of blocking his return into the DMK and selling party posts.
"All the true and loyal supporters of Thalaivar, Kalaignar (The leader and the artiste, sobriquets used for Karunanidhi) are with me, they are supporting me...time will provide the answer," Alagiri, who has been leading a life away from the media glare in Madurai since his expulsion, told reporters.
Later, speaking to an English TV news channel, Alagiri said, "Even if I am inclined to rejoin the party, they (Stalin and his supporters) are not in a mood to let me in."
"The DMK will dig its own grave if it does not take me back," he said, adding nobody from the Karunanidhi family was interested in talking to him to facilitate a reunion.
The Karunanidhi family had presented a united face when the DMK stalwart was fighting for life at a city hospital. Alagiri was present at the hospital and was seen at his father's funeral.
However, close watchers of Tamil Nadu politics expected him to flex his political muscle once Karunanidhi was gone.
The former union minister wields considerable influence in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu. He was the party's secretary for these districts before his expulsion.
When asked why there was opposition to his returning to the DMK fold, he shot back, saying "How do I know? You (media) have said I have a good reputation and the cadre likes me....they (Stalin and his backers) have that fear.... there could be a thought that I might become the party chief if I am taken back...that may be the reason."
Alagiri said several people in the DMK were in touch with Tamil film superstar Rajinikanth, who has said he will launch a political party.
"The party will crumble if it loses the Lok Sabha polls. Party posts are being sold," he said, adding "Thalaivar will punish them... his soul will not allow them go scotfree."
The development came a day ahead of the DMK's executive committee meeting that has been ostensibly convened to condole Karunanidhi's death but where a decision may be taken about summoning the party's general council for putting its seal of approval on Stalin's elevation.
Though Stalin sits firmly in the saddle and his ascension as DMK president is only a matter of time, Alagiri's tough posturing may prod his supporters in Madurai and adjoining districts to come out openly against the new party chief.
If that happens, the DMK, which has lost two successive assembly polls and failed to open its account in the Lok Sabha elections in 2014, may encounter fresh electoral reverses in the general elections next year.