Presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka could not have asked for better news on Wednesday as he arrived at the eastern coastal town of Trincomalee, some 260 km from Colombo, to address his first election rally in this centre for Tamil culture.
The Tamil National Alliance, an umbrella group of Tamil parties with 22 members in parliament formally announced that it would support him in the January 26 Presidential polls.
So, even if he was happy, Fonseka did not show it.
He arrived at the venue more than two hours late but the largely Tamil and Muslim crowd patiently waited to hear him as a political colleague translated in Tamil what Fonseka said in Sinhalese.
Tamils and Mulsims add up to more than 70 per cent of the population in the region.
Fonseka invoked former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as the perfect example of how as the political leader of the country, she did not take credit for the victory in the 1971 Bangladesh war and instead attributed it to the military.
The Indian chief of army staff Sam Manekshaw was made Field Marshall, Fonseka said, adding that after the defeat of the Tamil Tigers, he was made an inconsequential chief of defence staff.
Fonseka said Indira Gandhi did not plaster New Delhi with her own photographs and posters after the victory like the way Rajapaksa has done to claim credit for defeating the LTTE.