The Telegraph
Tuesday , March 16 , 2010
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Mamata’s KKR ticket

Juhi Chawla bowled over Mamata Banerjee on Monday with a broad smile, a big bouquet and a ticket to Tuesday’s Kolkata Knight Riders vs Chennai Super Kings face-off at the Eden Gardens.

Mamata was at the door of her 20B Harish Chatterjee Street home to greet the actress and KKR co-owner when she came calling at 3pm, a few hours before the railway minister headed for the airport to fly out to Delhi. As host and guest walked into the modest house chatting, Trinamul Congress leaders Tapas Roy and Madan Mitra stood guard outside.

Juhi emerged around 20 minutes later along with Mamata to a flurry of flashbulbs. “I came to invite her to the KKR matches. She said she would try and come. If she does, she will sit among the people (not VIPs),” said Juhi.

Mamata, who gifted Juhi a jute shawl with a Tricolour border, stood next to her smiling. The actress later headed for Kalighat, to pray for a hat-trick of KKR wins.

Sources said the duo bonded over tea, with Mamata’s mother joining in. “When she was introduced to Didi’s mother, Juhi got up and touched her feet,” said a Mamata aide.

Jeet Banerjee of Team KKR said Juhi was originally supposed to meet Mamata in Delhi but that didn’t materialise. “Since she was in town, Juhi took the opportunity to go and invite her for the matches at the Eden. Mamata will be in Delhi on Tuesday. She said she would try to make it to one of the matches in April.”

Had a “personal invitation” from either Juhi or Shah Rukh Khan been sent to Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee? Mum was the word from the KKR camp, and the chief minister’s office played with a dead bat.

“The chief minister hasn’t mentioned anything; so we can’t confirm whether an invitation has reached him. He didn’t visit Eden to watch the first edition of the IPL either. We don’t know whether he will go this year, even if he is invited. He prefers the traditional form of cricket,” said an official.

The chief minister, one assumes, doesn’t like the winds of change.

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