Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has altered her official Bengal tour schedule to felicitate Kolkata Knight Riders on their second Indian Premier League triumph, at the Eden Gardens here Tuesday. Team owner and Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan will also be present.
In a series of Facebook posts and tweets, Banerjee congratulated the Knights for their victory in Sunday’s nail-biting final and announced a felicitation programme on public demand.
“We will felicitate KKR tomorrow in Kolkata for IPL victory. There is a public demand,” she tweeted.
Later, talking to reporters at the Kolkata airport before embarking on her official trip to north Bengal, she referred to the spirit of Kolkata that relishes sporting events.
“The people deserve to celebrate… the people in Bengal have always loved sports like cricket and football. It is their spirit. I congratulate KKR for the win and they will get a reception tomorrow (Tuesday),” she said.
“Banerjee’s north Bengal tour was meant to run through five days. However, now she will return to the city Monday night itself – after her day-long administrative meeting in the north Bengal secretariat ‘Utarkanya’ in Jalpaiguri district – to be in time for the ceremony Tuesday,” official sources said.
She will return to north Bengal after the reception.
Home secretary Basudeb Banerjee, Sports Minister Madan Mitra, Police Commissioner Surojit Kar Purokayastha met Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) president Jagmohan Dalmiya and treasurer Biswarup Dey.
Discussions were held to chalk out the details of the felicitation.
“The state government, Cricket Association of Bengal in association with Kolkata Police will organise the ceremony,” Dey told IANS.
Kings XI Punjab batsman Wriddhiman Saha will also be feted by the state government for his brilliant performance. Saha became the first player to score a century in any IPL final, hitting 115 off 55 balls.
In 2012, when the Knights lifted the IPL trophy for the first time, Banerjee feted the team outside the Writers’ Buildings and then travelled in the team bus with Shahrukh to the jampacked Eden Gardens where a civic reception was held.
KKR co-owner Juhi Chawla will also be present.