KOLKATA, May 29 (PTI): Thousands of frenzied fans today turned up to give the triumphant Kolkata Knight Riders players a grand reception for their maiden IPL title win after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee felicitated them at her office here.
More than 50,000 people lined up on both sides of the road from Hamza at South Kolkata to the Eden Gardens after the victory procession started at 11.10am.
Frenzied scenes were seen all along the 5-km stretch as the KKR players celebrated the victory on an open bus top with the fans making desperate attempts to touch them.
Thousands of fans gathered at the Jatin Das Park crossing at Hazra, from where the parade began, with people throwing bouquets at the players. But with the team co-owner Shah Rukh Khan, who landed at the city late last night, missing there was some visible disappointment among the crowd.
It was, however, a celebration reminiscent of India�s World Cup victory last year as the entire city went purple with many coming from various parts of the state wearing Knight Riders team colours. 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 Writer�s Building via Akashvani Bhavan, the point from where the crowd were not allowed.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee felicitated the players at the Writer�s 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.
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 67,000-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. The team slogan �Korbo, Lorbo, Jeetbo� changed its tense as it now became �Korechi, Lorechi, Jeetechi�, something even team co-owner Shah Rukh Khan tried to utter after arriving at the airport late last night.
�Korechi, Lorechi, Jeetechi� (We have done it) adorned the walls of the stadium with Shah Rukh chartbusters reverbrating inside the stadium.
The programme at the Eden Gardens began at 10.30am with singers belting out Shah Rukh chartbusters, from Dard-e-Disco to Main Hoon Don as the crowd danced to the numbers, waving KKR flags.
The singers also changed the lyrics of the Bollywood star�s numbers a bit as �Chak De! India� became �Chak De! Kolkata� with the crowd enjoying every bit of it.
Despite the hot and humid weather, the crowd waited patiently for the players to enter 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.
For many of the fans, however, it was a long wait as they came to know that the players would arrive in two batches with more than three hours delay.