What to Read Next

KKR felicitation a mix of politics, sports and entertainment

Mithun Dasgupta
1 June 2012

Kolkata, June (IANS) It is time for out-of-the-box thinking, and in Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's West Bengal it is about mixing politics, sports and entertainment.

All the three elements were at play May 29 during the victory parade and felicitation of the Kolkata Knight Riders cricket team after it won the Indian Premier League title for the first time.

Coincidentally, the team's co-owner Shah Rukh Khan also happens to be the state's brand ambassador.

The rousing reception given to cricket team by the Banerjee-led state government at the Eden Gardens stadium a day after it beat Chennai Super Kings in the IPL final saw a star-studded gathering, which included Bengali film stars and popular singers.

Nearly 150,000 people cheered the team on the Kolkata's roads and at the stadium. The celebrations brought the city to a standstill - and drew criticism too.

The opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) said that Banerjee's Trinamool Congress was carrying out a political campaign in the name of felicitating the cricket team.

The Congress party, which is a part of the state government, asked why such a huge reception was given to a private corporate team when the state was undergoing a financial crisis.

Entrepreneurs and economists termed the function a colossal loss of man-hours and productivity as office-goers either took time off to celebrate or could not go to work because of road restrictions and traffic snarls.

But for Banerjee, the team's win could not have come at a more opportune time.

Her party, which came to power after ousting the CPI-M-led Left Front last May, has been celebrating a year in power and her ministers lost no time in tom-tomming the team's success as an example of the 'poriborton' (change) ushered in by the new government.

It was a double delight for Banerjee who had recently appointed Shah Rukh as the brand ambassador of West Bengal.

She also wanted to be a part of the celebrations, as part of her party's strategy to use every opportunity to touch people's heart.

So, the mix of politics and sports and entertainment in the function was hard to miss.

The six-km roadshow, in which the champion cricket players received adulation from at least 50,000 fans who lined the streets of south and central Kolkata, was impressive.

The parade started from Hazra Crossing near the chief minister's Harish Chatterjee Street residence, and covered her Bhowanipore assembly constituency before it ended near the historic Victoria Memorial.

Hazra Crossing, where Banerjee was brutally beaten up during the Left Front government many years ago, occupies a special position in her political career.

Even the recent rally she led protesting the steep petrol price hike had ended at Hazra.

And for the stadium function too, the chief minister ushered in some 'poriborton'.

Instead of inviting intellectuals to the the Eden Gardens, she called filmstars and popular Bangla bands and singers.

While bands such as Dohar, Chandrabindu and Bhoomi belted out popular songs, entertaining the 70,000-odd gathering, actors Jeet, Dev and Soham danced with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan.

Shah Rukh and Banerjee hogged the limelight, and later, the chief minister criticised those who had criticised the ceremony.

Bad News For Insurance, Great News For Virginia

Virginia drivers, with cars and good driving records are learning that they may qualify for lower car insurance rates. Do you qualify?

VA Mortgage Rates In 2016

VA Rates as Low as 2.75% (3.028% APR) 15 Year Fixed. Exclusive For Veteran & Military Takes 1 Min!

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage (It's Genius)

Homeowners are surprised and furious. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home, you better read this...

Pay $0 to file your taxes again this year

TurboTax Absolute Zero is back again. $0 Fed. $0 State. $0 to File. Your taxes done right. File your simple return with Zero hidden costs.

Transfer Your Balance To A Better Credit Card

CreditCards.com makes it easy to compare the top ranked credit cards out there. Learn more about balance transfer credit cards here.

Attn Home Owners Who Never Miss a Payment.

Home Owners who have not missed a payment in 3 years or more need to read this. If you owe less than $625,000 on your home there is a solution.

Starwood Credit Card

Earn 25,000 Bonus Starpoints®! Use toward Award Nights or Flights.

Bring Home This Heart-Warming Disney Movie Offer!

Get 4 Disney Movies For $1 With Membership. See Details. Exclusive Titles, Merchandise, Offers & Discounts. Plus, Free Shipping On Your Initial Order!

Find Out How SoFi Can Help Refinance Your Loans

SoFi is refinancing student loans with fixed rates as low as 3.5% APR...

Argosy University℠, Washington DC

Enjoy Flexible Learning Formats that Fit Your Busy Lifestyle. Learn More About the Master's and Doctorate Programs AU, Washington DC Offers. Apply Now

Compare rates. Save big.

We'll compare rates so you have more time for important things… like cats.

Read This Before You Buy Medigap Plan F

Plan F is the most popular Medicare Supplement plan, but there's another Medigap option you should consider.

9 Cards for People Who Have Great Credit

What card offers up to 5% cash back? And which one offers 24/7 concierge service? See the best credit cards of 2016. Apply online, quickly & easily.

Do NOT pay your insurance until you try this.

If you drive less than 55 miles/day OR have no DUI's you can get auto insurance for as low as $29/ Month! See if you qualify.