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Top politicians, Bollywood stars descend at Mohali

Press Trust of India  |  Mohali 

The electrifying atmosphere came alive at the jampacked Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium when several top and Bolloywood stars descended here to add glamour to the high-voltage semi-final between the arch-rivals India and Pakistan today.

First VVIP to reach the Stadium shortly before the start of the match was UPA Chairperson and Congress President Sonia Gandhi along with her son and party general secretary, Rahul Gandhi.

Prior to their arrival, Robert Vadra and son had joined thousands of fans in the 30,000 capacity stadium.

With the two neighbouring countries clashing for the first time after cricketing ties between the two sides were suspended in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, it was a complete carnival atmosphere here.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reached the stadium at around 1:53 pm, straight from the Chandigarh airport to watch the match and then hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani.

He was received outside the reception gate of the stadium by ICC President Sharad Pawar, Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, BCCI Chief Shashank Manohar and PCA President IS Bindra.

After a while when Pakistan Prime Minister Gilani arrived at the stadium, Singh himself welcomed his counterpart and the two exchanged pleasantries for close to a minute before going inside.

Bollywood star Aamir Khan, wearing a T-shirt and donning a thick moustache, was also spotted among the spectators, while another tinsel town actor Shakti Kapoor could also be seen.

Some of the country's business magnates also came down to the city.

A number of dignitaries from Pakistan were also present to watch the match, touted as "mother of all battles".

The media box could also seen overflowing with journalists as some of the top most media persons from around the country and abroad landed here for the high-profile game.

Unprecedented security was thrown around the PCA stadium, with NSG, SPG, paramilitary forces, 40 personnel deployed of the special wing raised by Punjab police to deal with terror attack and hostage situation, with about 3,000 Punjab police personnel guarding the stadium.

First Published: Wed, March 30 2011. 17:14 IST