Prime Minister Manmohan Singh defended himself on Wednesday against accusations his government was a lameduck, saying it was trying to bring justice in some of the country's biggest corruption scandals in decades.
Whatever some people may say, that we are a lame duck government, that I am a lame duck prime minister, we take our job very seriously, Singh said is a rare media roundtable with TV editors aimed at improving his worsening image.
We are here to govern, and to govern effectively. Tackle the problems as they arise and get this country moving forward. Allegations the government may have lost up to $39 billion in revenues after firms were awarded telecoms deals at rock-bottom prices in return for kickbacks have rocked the ruling coalition and compounded India's fragile investment climate.
The 78-year-old Singh has been under increasing pressure to stamp out on corruption and his decision-making appears to have been paralysed in his second term despite winning re-election with an increased majority.
The scandals have taken a heavy toll on Singh, concerned his legacy is transforming from one of being the founders of India's economic boom to someone who did nothing to stop corruption or policy paralysis.
Singh may have hoped the current scandals would ebb. But an aggressive media, an assertive Supreme Court and an opposition tasting political blood have seen momentum into the corruption probes grow.
Policy making has also been in limbo since his re-election in 2009 as the government battles fires from inflation to graft scandals. Reforms like opening up retail and the financial sector to foreign investment have been put on the backburner.
The government appeared close to agreeing to a broad, cross-party investigation in the scandal, paving the way for parliament to resume as normal for a Feb. 21 budget session.
But there were few signs the parliamentary session would lead to any more reform bills.
Some commentators say there could be a repeat of 1989, when Congress lost a general election due to the Bofors scandal over gun contracts involving close associates of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who were accused of taking bribes.