Kolkata: Even as thousands of fans turned up at Kolkata's Eden Gardens and along the parade route to cheer the Kolkata Knight Riders, winners of IPL 5, it was West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee who stole the show.
Taking over the victory celebrations, Mamata Banerjee felicitated the KKR players amid thunderous applause at Eden Gardens. She was even seeing controlling the media and the crowd that has gathered at the stadium.
Earlier last night, around one thousand frenzied supporters gathered and danced well past midnight as the players and team owners arrived from Chennai in two batches at the NSC Bose International Airport.
Skipper Gautam Gambhir's three Bengali words "ami Kolkatar chhele" (I am son of the city) won the hearts of fans gathered to welcome 'home' the Knight Riders who beat two-time defending champions Chennai Super Kings to win their maiden title in five appearances.
"Thank you very much for your support," Gambhir added as the crowd danced to the drum beats when the team members arrived around 10.30pm last night.
Venky Mysore, the CEO of the Knight Riders, and coach Trevor Bayliss were among those on the crowded makeshift dais just outside the VIP Gate number five.
As many as 54 passengers on the Chennai-Calcutta flight were from the KKR contingent, including the families of some of the players and the support staff. The foreign players in the team didn't board the flight.
Team owners Shah Rukh Khan, Jay Mehta and Juhi Chawla arrived around 11.45 pm as they were thrilled at the crowd response late into the night.
There were also a bevy of Trinamool Congress ministers, party leaders and officials of the Cricket Association of Bengal who were waiting with bouquets and garlands as they jostled for the limelight on the makeshift dias.