Kolkata celebrates Shah Rukh, KKR at Eden Gardens
Kolkata: Around 70,000 fans turned up to welcome the Kolkata Knight Riders players for their maiden IPL title win after West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee felicitated them.
The victory lap began from Hazra with two vehicles, one with the triumphant team members and the other had the celebrities dancing and waving to the frenzied crowd gathered on both sides of the street.
They had the first stop at Jadu Babur Bazar for a short felicitation en route to the Writers Building via Akashvani Bhavan, the point from where the crowd was not allowed.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee felicitated the players at the Writers Building as the team made their way for the grand celebration at the Eden Gardens, organised by the state government, Kolkata Municipal Corporation and Cricket Association of Bengal.
A dais had been constructed before the central gate of the state secretariat, with a huge banner 'Knights Become Kings, Bengal Celebrates' to welcome the team.
Shah Rukh and Juhi Chawla drove down a little later. The chief minister, helped by the railway minister, personally handed bouquets and scarves to Gautam Gambhir and team members as well as SRK and Chawla.
Banerjee posed with the IPL cup with Gambhir and then with SRK.
After the 13-minute programme, the chief minister boarded the team bus with the players and headed for the Eden Gardens, a short distance away.
Meanwhile, people of all ages thronged the Eden since morning to join the grand celebration of IPL victors KKR who bagged their first title in five appearances after beating two-time defending champions Chennai Super Kings in the final.
The 70,000-capacity Eden resembled a mini Kolkata with the galleries packed to the hilt well before the team entered their home ground.
Big banners of 'We embrace our valiant Knights. KKR 2012 IPL champions," welcomed the Knight Riders outside the stadium.
Ms Banerjee felicitated the team and the owners Shah Rukh Khan, Juhi Chawla and Jay Mehta with shawls, bouquets, gold chains. West Bengal governor M K Narayanan also greeted them with shawls. They then cut a sandesh cake that had the slogan of the KKR. It said Korechi, Lorechi and Jeetechi (We have done it, we have fought for it and we have won it) .
"We have been waiting for this day so long. Thank you Didi. Thank You Kolkata. Thank you West Bengal on behalf of every member of the team. Only Kolkata will rule," SRK, who is also the brand ambassador of West Bengal, said at the reception amidst thunderous cheers from hundreds of people as confetti rained from above.
Captain Gautam Gambhir said, "Thank you Didi. It is a fantastic support that we have received from the people of Kolkata and Bengal."
Banerjee, dressed in a white sari with a purple border, the color of the team's jersey, said, "Bengal is proud. The victory of the Knight Riders is like a victory of the world."
Shah Rukh, Juhi and some Bangla stars treated the crowd at the Eden Gardens with their impromptu dance.
The team also took a lap of honour with their IPL trophy held high. Ms Banerjee congratulated the team and said she wanted the team to win the competition next year as well.
Meanwhile, there was a mild lathicharge outside the stadium to control the crowd.