NEW DELHI: On the eve of the Monsoon session, the government and main opposition Congress today locked horns over the controversies surrounding Sushma Swaraj, Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan, setting the stage for confrontation in Parliament.
While Congress made it clear that it will not allow Parliament to function unless the BJP leaders facing allegations quit, the government asserted that there will be no resignations and that it will not give in to any ultimatum.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while seeking the cooperation of opposition, expressed willingness to discuss any issue as he said that running Parliament is a "shared responsibility".
Ahead of the Monsoon session, two all-party meetings were held -- one convened by Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and the other by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan -- but both ended in a deadlock, with the government and the main opposition sticking to their positions on the controversies, particularly over Lalit Modi and Vyapam scam.
Congress is demanding resignation of Swaraj, the External Affairs Minister, and Raje, the Rajasthan Chief Minister, over their links with former IPL chief Lalit Modi.
HRD Minister Smriti Irani's ouster is being demanded in a case of alleged false claim over education. Chouhan, the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, is under fire over Vyapam scam while Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh is being targeted over rice scam.
At the meeting convened by Naidu, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad insisted that resignations are necessary for the smooth functioning of Parliament.
Rejecting this, Naidu said, "There is no question of accepting ultimatum by anybody. From where did the question of resignation arise? Nobody can dictate terms to the government. From the government side, no Union Minister has done anything illegal or immoral."
Azad dubbed the government as "thick skinned" for rejecting the demands.
Contrasting the attitude with that of the previous Congress-led UPA government, he cited how the then Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan had resigned on surfacing of some charges.