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A meeting is likely to take place in Guwahati on November 16 between Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad Sangma after the latter’s brief visit to the national capital where he is said to have met the BJP top brass.

Sources say Sangma called Sarma earlier this week to seek his time for the meeting which could be on crucial issues, including the Assam-Meghalaya border issue and the NDA developments especially with regard to the upcoming Manipur election where both the BJP as well as Sangma’s party would be contesting.

The two chief ministers are likely to visit the border areas connecting the two states as part of the confidence building measures in order to look at a permanent solution for the border dispute.

There are six areas that are disputable — Tarabari, Gizang, Hashim, Boklapara, Khanapara-Pilangkata — and both states are committed to solve the border issues amicably.

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A couple of months ago, just after the Assam-Mizoram clash, a meeting was convened between the NEDA chief Sarma and the Meghalaya CM after which regional committees were formed to help settle this decades-long issue.

Sangma’s party NPP is a key alliance partner of the NDA in the north-east region. In fact, in the state of Manipur, NPP has four MLAs, including two ministers, with the Deputy CM post.

NPP has already announced that they will be going solo in next year‘s Manipur state assembly election and they will be pitted against BJP. NPP said that they would be looking at only post poll alliance. This is also an important issue that may come up for discussion in the meeting between the CMs, with Sarma likely to discuss the possibility of a pre-poll alliance.

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It was a bit of a rough patch when in a major reshuffle last year in September, Manipur CM N Biren Singh dropped a few ministers from his government before they completed their entire term.

This included two ministers from the NPP quota who formed the coalition government in the state. Biren dropped L Jayantakumar (health) and the party’s state unit interim president N Kayisii (tribal affairs and hills areas development). It was an intervention by Sarma who swooped in from Guwahati to Imphal and then took Sangma and Co to Delhi to meet the party top brass to finally salvage the situation.

This year, too, Sangma is looking at contesting all the 60 assembly seats in Manipur and the BJP is also looking at doing the same, including targeting getting absolute majority on its own. The good relationship that Sangma and his family has in the opposition circles is something that the BJP will carefully watch out for ahead of the crucial elections in Manipur and ahead of the 2023 Meghalaya assembly elections where again BJP is in a coalition government and Sangma is the chief minister.

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