For the first time, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was seen jogging in the hills of Darjeeling to raise awareness about environment conservation. Though Banerjee is known to walk on the treadmill every day, she went on a 10-kilometre jog along with her senior bureaucrats, police officers, local Trinamool Congress workers and journalists in the picturesque northern Bengal hill town of Kurseong.
Banerjee, who has in the past never let go any opportunity to cover on foot distances even during her foreign visits, on Thursday marched 5km downhill from Kurseong to the Mahanadi area and then took the return route uphill in observance of the International Day of Climate Action.
A large number of locals of all ages came forward to have a close glimpse of the Chief Minister during the walkathon. 'Didi' (elder sister, as Banerjee, is fondly called in Bengal), looking relaxed, reached out to them, particularly children. She told them about the need for conserving the environment and saving the greenery.
"On the International Day of Climate Action, let us all solemnly pledge to make every effort to conserve the environment and save our planet. Save Green, Stay Clean," she tweeted.
With some of those in her entourage visibly looking tired during the uphill jog, the Chief Minister chose to walk some part of the distance.
Banerjee going on her evening walk is a familiar sight in Kolkata, and she has been seen taking some time out even during official programmes organised in parks or other open areas to keep to her routine.
During these walk sessions, she often cajoles journalists and government officials, including senior police personnel, to accompany her in order to keep themselves fit, but most of them have found it difficult to keep pace with the Chief Minister, a health freak who works daily on the treadmill.
One of Banerjee's favourite venues for evening walk used to be Eliot Park in the heart of the city, but she stopped going there from July this year after spotting "three snakes baring their fangs".
An abiding image of Banerjee has been her walk - alongside her delegation - from Rome to St Peter's Basilica where Mother Teresa was conferred sainthood in September, 2016.
During her trips to London, Singapore and Bhutan too, Banerjee and her team would often walk their way to famous tourist destinations.