West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee smiled a lot as she said today that she has but her state's love to give to the new IPL champions, the Kolkata Knight Riders. "We are a poor state, we have nothing but our love to give them," she said.
But the CM does plan a grand felicitation at the iconic Eden Garden stadium tomorrow. It will be an open house, no tickets, between 11 am and 1 pm and entry will be on a first come first served basis, Ms Banerjee said. There would be a 'sandesh' cake and there would be song - "Chak de India type of songs," the CM reckoned. The Eden Garden seats 60,000 people.
The team was expected to arrive in Kolkata this evening from Chennai, where the final was played. They have now been delayed as the Air India flight they were booked on has been cancelled. The champs are now reportedly trying for seats on a 7.40 pm flight which means they will reach Kolkata only late tonight. Ms Banerjee's government had planned a reception at the airport by a team of state ministers.
As part of the felicitation programme scheduled for tomorrow, the Shah Rukh Khan-owned KKR will carry the cup they won last night in a victory procession. A special vehicle will take them from Victoria to Mahakaran. Kolkata, Ms Banejee noted, celebrated KKR's big win over two-time champions Chennai Super Kings through the night.
An exultant Shah Rukh Khan had dedicated the win last evening to the people of Bengal. Ms Banerjee congratulated the popular actor, "our brand ambassador," but said she had not spoken to him yet. There is however, a stage that is being built at the Kolkata airport to greet the players and a few state ministers are expected to be present here.