Cabinet collapses...Pressure mounts for the Rajapaksas as the economic crisis deepens in Sri Lanka!

The ruling Rajapaksa clan of Sri Lanka has waken up to a fresh degree of heat in wake of the mass resignations from the cabinet ministers in the midst of a deepening economic crisis and escalating tensions across the country as hundreds of thousands of people have been protesting against the island's worst economic downfall with no sight of emancipation from the nightmare, though the government claims to be engaging in salvaging efforts. 

A day after Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency to stem the ongoing agitation, the cabinet ministers have tendered their resignations with immediate effect late on Sunday night amid the reports that Gotabaya's elder brother and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to relinquish his office. However, it was later denied by his office. Sri Lankans have witnessed an unprecedented scale of resignations and the fashion was believed by the experts as the sequel of intense pressure over mishandling the economic crisis. 

In the club of resigned ministers was the son of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. Speaking to reporters, Education Minister and Leader of the House, Dinesh Gunawardena said that the cabinet ministers had handed over their resignations to the Prime Minister. Taking to Twitter on Monday, Youth and Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa, nephew of Gotabaya and the son of Mahinda Rajapaksa, said that he told the President's secretary about his resignation with immediate effect. 

Namal said that he had quit in the hope it would help the President and the Prime Minister's decision to establish stability for Sri Lankans and the government. According to Reuters, Udaya Gammanpila, the chief of Pivithuru Hela Urumaya Party, one of the eleven political parties of the ruling coalition, said that he had met the President and the Prime Minister on Sunday with a plan to form a new cabinet. He had placed his plan with the aim of establishing an interim government. 

He told Reuters, "Our initial proposal was to set up an interim government representing all political parties of the government." Hours after the collapse of the cabinet, President Gotabaya has appealed to the resigned ministers to take up their posts and to work on a solution to mitigate the economic crisis. The economic crisis in Sri Lanka was triggered by the dearth of foreign exchange and growing debts. The prices of essential commodities like fuel and cooking gas have been surging while the Sri Lankans are bracing up the electricity cut for over 10 hours a day, due to a shortage of coal. 

As the sequel to the severe shortage of foreign currency, the Sri Lankan government has been struggling to pay for imports of fuel and other essentials and all these events have combinedly sparked nationwide protests as several people are taking the streets and urging the ruling leaders to step down for their flawed economic policies. The agitation has been continuing in the albeit of curfew. Sri Lanka has also been suffering from inflation after the government has devalued its currency last month ahead of the negotiations for acquiring a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

The Gotabaya regime has declared a state of emergency late last week after the protesters had surrounded the privare residence of the President on March 31. Amid the widespread protests, the government has ordered internet service providers to restrict social media access to prevent the planned agitation. In what has become a brief restriction, the social media were later restored after 15 hours. Earlier, the United Nations representative in Sri Lanka, Hanaa Singer-Hamby, has called for restraint from all groups involved in the clashes.  

She wrote on Twitter, "We are monitoring developments and are concerned by reports of violence." The nationwide protests, the brutal clampdown, and the declaration of a state of emergency have together made Sri Lanka have an embarrassing and disastrous stand on the global stage, that has put more pressure on Rajapaksa, who aims to have more financial aid from his neighbours India and China. However, it will levy more debt to the already-debt ridden nation. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically pushed the country into more economic disaster as the government estimated a loss of $14 billion in the last two years. According to the Central Bank, inflation rose to 17.5% in February from 16.8% a month earlier. It is expected to continue rising because the government has allowed the local currency to float freely amid having foreign debt repayment obligations of around $7 billion for this year alone along with shrinking foreign currency.