New Delhi: For Congress MP Renuka Chowdhury, whose Rajya Sabha term is nearing its end, an unusual advice came from the chairman Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday. It was about her weight.
During her farewell speech, Chowdhury, 63, said: "He (Naidu) knows me from many kilos before. Sir, many people worry about my weight but in this job, you need to throw your weight around."
To which, Naidu responded, "My simple suggestion is, reduce your weight and make efforts to increase the weight of the party".
"Sir, the Congress is fine," Chowdhury said, not one to back down.
The exchange evoked peals of laughter in the House, which witnessed several light moments during the farewell speeches of retiring members who are about to complete their tenure.
In another such moment, Chowdhury recalled that during her political journey in the Upper House, she was fortunate for being "the entire Opposition's united candidate to contest against Najma Heptullah for the Deputy Chair here".
This led Naidu to immediately quip: "That would have solved many problems."
"The lot of women has not improved tremendously. It is a pathetic 11 percent even now (women's strength in Rajya Sabha). I really think we need more women," she said.
Chowdhury said from Shah Bano to Surpanakha, she has been a witness to history in the making in the House.
In February, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taken a dig at Congress lawmaker Renuka Chowdhury during his speech in the Rajya Sabha, comparing her loud laughter in the House to that from Ramayana, leaving her fuming.
While, even though Modi did not take names, the exchange fuelled numerous memes on social media with people speculating that Chowdhury had been compared to Supranakha from Ramayana series.
Rajni Patil, also of the Congress, said it was destiny that she did not get a full tenure either in the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha, to which Naidu said, "then you go to Lok Sabha again," which again evoked laughter across the House.
She also alleged discrimination against women members of Parliament, calling for a change in the mindset and urged the ruling dispensation for early passage of the Women's Reservation Bill.
(With inputs from PTI)...