Veeramani, who won from the same constituency in both 2011 and 2016, hoped for a hat-trick victory this year. While Devaraji garnered 88,024 votes, his AIADMK rival Veeeramani was able to get only 87,118 votes. During the counting of the postal votes, Veeramani was able to get only 1,034 votes compared to Devaraji’s 1,253.
Strangely enough, except for his close circle, AIADMK cadres in Vellore district were not unhappy over his loss. Many felt that Veeramani lost despite spending lavishly as most were put off by his dominance in party affairs. “He never allowed a second line of leadership to develop, fearing that such a person might reach far greater heights than him,” said a party senior who did not wish to be named.
Examples of his strongman tactics include denying former labour minister and Vaniyambadi MLA Nilofer Kafeel a seat this year, and ensuring that former Anaicut MLA M Kalaiarasan lost the same seat in 2016. Party cadres also saw his close relationship with DMK general secretary as a betrayal.