Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday asked Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury to lose weight and instead “increase the weight of her party”. Chowdhury, one of the Rajya Sabha members whose tenure is going to end soon, was delivering her farewell speech in the Upper House.

“He [Naidu] knows me from many kilos before,” the Congress leader said. “Sir, many people worry about my weight, but in this job, you need to throw your weight around.”

The vice president immediately responded, saying, “My simple suggestion is, reduce your weight and make efforts to increase the weight of the party.” The exchange between the two evoked laughter across the Upper House.

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dig at her loud laughter in Parliament in February, Chowdhury said that from Shah Bano to Surpanakha, she had been a witness to the making of history in the House. She said she considered herself fortunate for having been the united Opposition’s candidate go up against Najma Heptullah for the post of deputy chair of the House.

“The lot of women has not improved tremendously,” Chowdhury said. “Even today, the strength of women in the Rajya Sabha is at a pathetic 11%. I really think we need more women.”