An all-party meeting convened by Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan failed to end a deadlock in the house over opposition demands for the resignation of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief ministers, likely signalling a washout of the entire monsoon session.

In the course of the meeting, a united opposition complained that the meeting to ensure smooth parliamentary proceedings in the rest of the session, which began on 21 July, should have been called by the government and not by the speaker.

Most parties demanded that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government should call an all-party meeting at the earliest and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should attend it.

“The sole purpose of the meeting was to tell the opposition parties not to use placards inside the House and to allow its smooth functioning. The Lok Sabha speaker asked all political parties to follow the rules. But it had little effect, and the opposition parties want to continue their demand for the resignation of Sushma Swaraj, (Rajasthan CM) Vasundhara Raje and (Madhya Pradesh CM) Shivraj Singh Chouhan," said a senior opposition leader who attended the two-hour meeting. The person didn’t want to be named.

The opposition led by the Congress is demanding the resignations of Swaraj and Raje for interceding with UK authorities to help former cricket administrator Lalit Modi, who is being investigated in India for financial irregularities in the Indian Premier League when he was heading it. The opposition wants Chouhan’s ouster over a scam related to student admissions in professional colleges and government job recruitments.

Opposition MPs have refused to let Parliament function until the demands are met. Normal business has been disrupted in the first two weeks of the monsoon session, making it the least productive since the NDA came to power in May 2014.

Mahajan has been annoyed that opposition parties, especially the Congress and Telangana Rashtra Samithi, displayed placards and banners inside the House to register their protest. Congress leaders have also sported black armbands.

“If you see the past year’s record, Parliament has worked quite well. But now if there are problems, it obviously indicates that the ruling party is somewhere at fault. Misdeeds of their (BJP) ministers is the root cause of all problems," said Kaushalendra Kumar, a Lok Sabha member from the Janata Dal (United).

“The BJP should itself ask for the resignation of these ministers and not wait for the opposition to ask for them. No one wants disruptions in the House, but I don’t understand why the BJP was quiet on the issue of resignations in today’s meeting," he added.

During the meeting, home minister Rajnath Singh emphasised that the government wanted Parliament to function and was ready for discussions on any issue in both Houses.

Singh also assured the parliamentarians that he would discuss the demands of the opposition parties with the prime minister, and the government would soon hold an all-party meeting.

The government is, however, adamant that no BJP leader will resign. “There is no case against Sushma Swaraj; so, there is no reason why the minister for external affairs should resign," said a senior Union minister who attended the meeting.

Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge reiterated that all three senior BJP leaders must resign, and the means of protests that his party is using are in no way different from what the BJP did in the 14th and 15th Lok Sabhas when the United Progressive Alliance was in power.

“We said that we will extend our cooperation to the speaker, but the government too should perform its duties. We requested the speaker to ask the government to fulfil its responsibilities," Kharge said after the meeting.

“It’s the government’s responsibility to ensure that the House goes on smoothly, but I see no interest from this government. There have been so many problems that required such all-party meetings. The government never bothered to call even a single meeting. Even today, the meeting wasn’t called by the BJP, it was the speaker," said Dharmendra Yadav, a Lok Sabha member of the Samajwadi Party.

A leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said the meeting failed to address the real issues. “The all-party meeting remained inconclusive. The prime minister must clarify his stand on the steps he wishes to take (on the Lalit Modi and Madhya Pradesh controversies). The meeting failed to address that, and instead, was confined to just finding a way to get Parli-ament to function," said the lea-der on condition of anonymity.