On Sunday, the ruling AIADMK party announced Sasikala Natarajan would become the next leader, two months after the death of influential politician J Jayalalitha.
O Panneerselvam, who had taken over after her death, resigned on Sunday.
He now says he had to make way for Sasikala, who prefers to be known by her first name.
On Tuesday evening, Mr Panneerselvam visited a "monument" erected in honour of Jayalalitha at the Marina beach in the capital, Chennai (Madras).
He meditated there for 40 minutes before announcing that Amma (mother), as Jayalalitha was popularly known, wanted him to be chief minister and that he had been compelled to put in his papers by a group of legislators on Sunday.
Mr Panneerselvam also said he was willing to withdraw his resignation "if people wanted".
Some leaders of the AIADMK, who owe allegiance to Sasikala, have criticised Mr Panneerselvam's remarks and called him a "betrayer".
Reports say he will need the support of at least 118 of his party's 134 lawmakers if he wants to continue as the leader of the government.