Congress's Uttar Pradesh Chief Ministerial candidate Sheila Dikshit seems to have been left by the party to fend for herself in the battle to prove her innocence in the Sahara diary case, where her name featured as an alleged receiver of kickbacks.
Although Dikshit has rejected the charges in no uncertain terms, sources in the party said she has to come clean herself on the allegations.
The Congress has demanded an "independent probe" into the "Sahara diaries", in which names of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Ministers of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh and also Dikshit have figured.
Addressing the media, Congress leader and former Union minister Jairam Ramesh said: "There are many names in the list, including that of the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. All the names should be investigated."
"If there is a name, there should be an enquiry. Some names may turn out to be wrong, some names may turn out to be right. Why is the government shying away from an impartial, independent probe," he asked.
Rejecting the allegations, Dikshit said she "does not recall anything" about the diary and asserted she has "nothing to do" with it.
According to the list, Rs 1 crore in cash was given to Dikshit on September 23, 2013, in Delhi. She was the Delhi chief minister until December 2013.
A Congress leader said: "Her name is there in the list... This is for her to answer and reply."
Congress had tweeted the list, in which her name had figured. Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi had accused Prime Minister Modi of taking Rs 40 crore in kickbacks from Sahara as Gujarat chief minister, based on the same list of entries.
Asked what would be Dikshit's role in view of reports of a possible alliance between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, a Congress leader said: "I don't think an alliance is happening. Had there been an alliance, there would have been consultations and talks."
Another Congress leader, asked if it was a conspiracy to remove her as the chief ministerial candidate, said: "If there was a conspiracy to remove her, why would we have selected her as the chief ministerial candidate in the first place? So far there have been no talks on an alliance. She will be our chief ministerial candidate."
Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha told IANS that all names featuring in the documents should be scrutinised.
"Whether any Congress leader is named or not, is not material. What matters is that the prime minister's name is there," he said.
Asked if the party wants the matter to be probed even at the cost of Dikshit, Jha said: "All the political parties, all the leaders featuring in the documents should be scrutinised, starting with the prime minister."