The Bengal government's decision to organise an extravagant felicitation function for the IPL V winners, Kolkata Knight Riders has created a controversy with several prominent political leaders and cricket experts questioning the wisdom of spending so much on the achievement of a domestic club side.
Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee handed over gold medals to players as well as support staff of the victorious KKR team at a grand felicitation ceremony at the Eden Gardens here, watched by a capacity crowd.
Although no official figures were available on how much expenditure was incurred in organising the event, some TV channels reported that about Rs. 45 lakhs were spent on felicitating Bollywood superstar and KKR co-owner Shah Rukh and his team.
Some critics also felt that the celebrations were a little overboard as it was not the World Cup that KKR had won but only a domestic club tournament.
Veteran CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta lambasted the Trinamool Congress-led Bengal government for spending huge sum of money on such celebrations.
"I don't know what the celebrations were for, I was being told that gold necklaces were given to the players. According to me, IPL is no cricket at all, T20 cricket is no cricket. It was neither a World Cup nor IFA Shield or Ranji Trophy win," Dasgupta said.
Former India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia, however, backed the Bengal government's move.
"I don't see anything wrong in celebrating KKR's win. Cricket sells in India and people thoroughly follow IPL. I don't see any reason why people are criticising the felicitation ceremony. It was a good gesture on the part of Bengal government," he said.