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Off with the paunches! Mamata wants Bengal MLAs to sweat it out on the treadmill

Sulagna Sengupta | Updated on: 25 May 2017, 14:11 IST
(Arya Sharma/Catch News)

Attention West Bengal MLAs, CM Mamata Banerjee has not time for the paunches and your lack of fitness.

For the first time ever in the West Bengal Assembly, a gym and massage centre has been set up. For now, the gym is only for the men and they are expected to work out before or after their office hours.

A separate gym for women will be set up soon.

So how did this fitness drive begin?

A few days ago, sources say, Mamata went up to the Leader of Opposition Abdul Mannan and advised him to be 'choosy about the food he eats and also asked him to exercise regularly. It is well-known that Mamata insists on keeping fit herself and walks on the treadmill at home regularly. On other days, she goes for an evening stroll in a nearby park.

Also, Mamata is often spotted taking a walk around the House in the evenings followed by an army of Assembly staff, police officials and even journalists. Ministers like Partha Chatterjee and Sovan Chatterjee, who have huge paunches, find it quite difficult to keep up with her during these walks. And this, of course, has not escaped the CM's sharp eyes.

'Fitness freak' Mamata now wants all her MLAs to be as up-and-about as she is.

The swanky, state-of-the-art gym was opened on Wednesday and it will be open for all legislators from 10AM to 5.30PM. It will also remain open when the Assembly is not in session. The gym has a treadmill and an automatic massage machine has also been installed.

While some MLAs think it is a great initiative, most (of the Opposition) are displeased with (the fat-shaming and) the waste of money.

The minister in charge of the power department, Sovandeb Chattopadhyay, said, “The chief minister is concerned about the health of the legislators and that's why she has asked the Assembly secretariat to open the gym. The initiative has been taken to make sure the MLAs remain fit.”

“This is a farce. By setting up a gym it’s a drain on the public exchequer!” said Mannan essentially pointing to the fact that the Assembly is a place for legislation and not 'fitness' or relaxation.

State BJP president Dilip Ghosh added to Mannan's outrage.

“We come to the Assembly to raise our voice against the ruling government. We are not coming here to relax. If we need to be physically active we can go to our local gym centres!”

No matter what the Opposition has to say, the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) MLA’s seem to be very enthusiastic.

“I went there before the Assembly session on Wednesday and I have started controlling my diet also. This is a good initiative and it will help us to be physically active,” a Trinamool MLA told Catch.

Defending the gym, the chief whip of the AITC in Assembly, Nirmal Ghosh, said, “Our main motive is to keep every MLA's mind and body in good health and so we have set up this facility inside the House. After assessing how many MLA’s are going to the gym, we will install other machines.”

Edited by Jhinuk Sen

First published: 25 May 2017, 14:11 IST