The candidates of Tripura’s ruling BJP and its junior ally IPFT filed their nomination papers on Friday to contest each other in the Lok Sabha polls. The Bharatiya Janata Party termed the IPFT’s (Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura) move as violation of “raj dharma” and “coalition etiquette”.

After filing nomination by IPFT’s Sukhla Charan Noatia, party chief Narendra Chandra Debbarma said: “To raise the statehood demand in Parliament, we are contesting the Lok Sabha polls.”

Organising a big procession, Tripura Pradesh General Secretary Pratima Bhowmik submitted her candidature for the Tripura West Lok Sabha constituency.

Tripura Chief Minister and BJP’s Tripura Pradesh president Biplab Kumar Deb, Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma, their ministerial colleagues and senior leaders led the rally before submission of the nomination by the 50-year-old woman saffron party leader.

Before the BJP, IPFT nominee Sukhla Charan Noatia submitted his nomination papers in the same constituency after holding a similar procession, which was led by party President and Revenue Minister Narendra Chandra Debbarma and General Secretary and Forest Minister Mever Kumar Jamatia.

According to the respective party sources, BJP’s nominee Rebati Tripura and IPFT candidate Narendra Chandra Debbarma would submit their nomination papers for the Tripura East Lok Sabha seat on Monday.

The BJP has made a series of appeals to its junior ally to withdraw their candidates, but the IPFT leadership, who had earlier demanded to the dominant partner to leave the Tripura East seat to the tribal based party, remained firm about contesting the elections.

The Tripura East seat is reserved for the tribals.

The BJP’s Chief spokesman Ashok Sinha while talking to the media, said that the IPFT has violated and dishonoured “raj dharma” (duty of governance) and “coalition etiquette”.

Tripura Chief Minister also urged the IPFT to uphold the “raj dharma”.

“The IPFT announced candidates without discussing the issue with us,” Deb told the media.

BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav, Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma and Education and Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath held separate meetings with the IPFT leaders here last week, but the seat sharing hurdles remained unresolved as both sides are firm about fielding their candidates in the two Lok Sabha seats.

In last year’s February 18 politically significant Assembly polls, the BJP and IPFT together won 44 seats in the 60 member Assembly with the dominant party alone bagging 36 seats.

The IPFT has two ministers in the nine-member BJP-IPFT ministry.

Polling for Tripura West will be held in the first phase on April 11 and Tripura East in the second phase on April 18. Votes will be counted on May 23.