Sonowal, who was earlier with Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and defeated Ghatowar in 2004, joined BJP in 2011 and shifted his constituency this time from Dibrugarh to Lakhimpur in Brahmaputra River's north bank. Both the constituencies will go to polls on Monday. (Agencies)
There are six candidates in the fray in Dibrugarh, which has nine Assembly segments spread across the two districts of Dibrugarh and Tinsukia.
In Lakhimpur, there are 13 candidates with nine Assembly segments spread across the four districts of Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Tinsukia and Jorhat.
Narah, a Minister of State for Tribal Affairs in UPA-II, had accused that her colleague - Ghatowar, the Union DoNER Minister, entered into a pact with Sonowal to shift to
Lakhimpur so that his win becomes easier.
The allegation has been denied by both the 62-year-old Ghatowar and Sonowal.
Believed to be close to Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, 50-year-old Narah is seeking a fourth term in Parliament from the same constituency. She had faced open rebellion from a section of party MLAs in her constituency's assembly segments with some even refusing to campaign for her.
The party's central leadership, however, is said to have issued a warning to the MLAs and directed them to campaign for all official Congress nominees, party sources said.
The issues of big dams over the Subansiri, erosion of the world's largest inhabited river island Majuli, which falls under Lakhimpur constituency, and shifting of the traditional vote bank of Mising tribes are also expected to impact the fate of Narah, political analysts pointed out.
While Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had campaigned for Narah, a former member of the state's women cricket team, BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi canvassed for Sonowal.
In the traditional Congress bastion of Dibrugarh, Ghatowar is locked in a battle with BJP's Rameswar Teli, a two-time former MLA from the oil township of Duliajan.
Ghatowar, a tea community leader and former Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) general secretary, is bidding to retain the seat for the sixth time.
Except in 2004, Congress has always won the seat since 1952, relying heavily on its traditional vote bank of tea garden workers. BJP candidate Teli is also a tea tribe leader.
Wooing tea garden workers in his campaign rally for Ghatowar, Rahul Gandhi promised to brand Assam tea globally with a focus on promoting Dibrugarh as the world's tea city.
Modi for his part promised to improve the condition of the tea garden workers who he claimed are denied minimum wages.
The AGP candidates in both the constituencies – former ULFA militant Hari Prasad Dihingia in Lakhimpur and Anup Phukan in Lakhimpur - are expected to make some impact in certain segments.
Sonowal, who was earlier with Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and defeated Ghatowar in 2004, joined BJP in 2011 and shifted his constituency this time from Dibrugarh to Lakhimpur in Brahmaputra River's north bank. Both the constituencies will go to polls on Monday.