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Rejecting the BJP’s appeal to withdraw candidates, members of IPFT, its junior ruling ally in Tripura, on Monday filed nomination papers to contest the Lok Sabha polls.

Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura’s (IPFT) president and revenue minister Narendra Chandra Debbarma, after filing papers for the Tripura East (reserve) seat said the IPFT would contest the polls to raise the party’s statehood demand in Parliament.

“We, in a series of meetings with the BJP leaders, requested them to leave the Tripura East seat to the IPFT, but to no avail,” he said.

The BJP had appealed junior ally to withdraw candidates, but the IPFT remained firm about contesting elections.

The BJP has fielded young tribal leader Rebati Tripura from the Tripura East seat. He filed his nomination papers on Monday.

Another IPFT nominee Sukhla Charan Noatia filed his nomination papers from the Tripura West seat last week. He will face the BJP general secretary Pratima Bhowmik.

The BJP termed the IPFT’s move a violation of “raj dharma” and “coalition propriety”.

Urging the IPFT to uphold the “raj dharma”, Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb said, “The IPFT announced candidates without discussing it with us.”

The BJP and the IPFT fought the February 18, 2018, Assembly polls together and won 44 seats in the 60-member House. Of this, the BJP tally was 36.

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

Tripura West goes to polls in the first phase on April 11 and Tripura East in the second phase on April 18.