Prashant Acharya, EOI, SILIGURI, 11 Jul 2016: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was given a grand reception this afternoon at the Bagdogra airport and in Rohini near Kurseong by hill communities that included the Khambu Rai,  Lepcha Development Council members as also cadres of the Gorkha National Liberation Front.
This was the first time that GNLF supporters were seen welcoming the chief minister with khadas and Nepali scarves and reflects the ongoing bonhomie between the Trinamool chief and Mann Ghisingh,  who the chief minister has appointed as vice chairman of the North Bengal Board of Sports and Games.
Thousands of people from both the plains and the hills had gathered at the airport since morning to welcome the chief minister, who landed around three in the afternoon and proceeded directly to Darjeeling  without uttering a word to the press people present.
In Rohini, she was accorded a grand welcome with flowers, khadas and traditional garlands. The chief minister even alighted from her car to accept the greetings. Banerjee will be in Darjeeling for five days and  welcome President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday who will be flying directly to the Lebong helipad from Bagdogra. 
On Wednesday, July 13 the President and Banerjee will attend a function observing the  birth anniversary of Nepali poet Bhanu Bhakta Acharya. The chief minister is also slated to attend the annual meeting of the Darjeeling Tea Association during her five-day stay.