Colombo (Sri Lanka) | Jagran News Desk: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday said that he is ready to make "any sacrifice" for his people amid reports that he might resign from his position as the island nation continues to face its worst economic crisis ever.

"I am ready to make any sacrifice for the people," Lanka First, a leading news network in the country, quoted Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa as saying.

He made the remarks during an event at his official residence Temple Trees.

Pressure has been mounting on the Sri Lankan government, especially on the Gotabaya brothers, due to the current economic crisis. Several ministers of Prime Minister Rajapaksa have also resigned from their positions.

However, Prime Minister Rajapaksa has resfused to quit the office.

According to news agency PTI, his younger brother and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa also wants the Prime Minister to resign, but has not directly conveyed his wish.

The President wants his resignation enabling him to go for a government of national unity, an interim arrangement till the present economic crisis could be dealt with, PTI quoted sources as saying.

Meanwhile, Dayasiri Jayasekera, a ruling coalition dissident, has said that the Prime Minister "may not offer direct resignation". "What I feel is he would say I have no responsibility for the present crisis, so no reasons for me to resign," Jayasekera told PTI.

Protesters want the entire Rajapaksa family to quit politics and return what they alleged stolen assets of the country. The powerful Buddhist Clergy too had pressured the resignation of the prime minister and the Cabinet to pave the way for an interim government.

On Sunday, Sri Lanka's main Opposition SJB said that it has rejected an offer by embattled President Gotabaya to its leader Sajith Premadasa to head an interim government, amid continued political uncertainty in the country which is now under a state of emergency.

Jayasekera said the dissident group's 11 party alliance would hold further talks on Monday on ways to end the crisis. He was hopeful of the interim government formation should Mahinda Rajapaksa resign.

The public protests gain momentum every day as petrol and gas queues get longer. The prospect of extending the current number of hours for power cuts is also looming.

On Sunday, extensive talks were held in the initiative by the lawyers' body, Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL). They advocate a unity government limited to a cabinet of 15 members for a period of 18 months during which a plethora of constitutional reforms is to take place.

In a special Cabinet meeting on Friday, President Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency with effect from Friday midnight. This is the second emergency declared in just over a month.

The economic crisis is caused in part by a lack of foreign currency, which has meant that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel, leading to acute shortages and very high prices.

Thousands of demonstrators have hit the streets across Sri Lanka since April 9, as the government ran out of money for vital imports; prices of essential commodities have skyrocketed and there are acute shortages in fuel, medicines and electricity supply.

(With PTI inputs)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma