Playing down the tie-up of Patidar leader Hardik Patel and the Congress ahead of the crucial Gujarat Assembly polls, state Chief Minister Vijay Rupani accused the Congress of indulging in caste politics.

“Hardik-Congress tie-up will have no effect on BJP’s prospects,” the incumbent CM told PTI.

He also slammed the Congress’ promise of giving reservations to Patels and accused it of indulging in caste politics.

“The promise of quota beyond 50 per cent cap is an attempt to deceive people,” he said.

“With no real issues, the Congress is seeking refuge in casteism. Congress has outsourced its campaign to caste leaders,” Rupani said.

In a major boost for the Congress ahead of the crucial Gujarat polls, PAAS leader Hardik Patel on November 22 had announced his support to the party after it agreed to give reservation to Patels.

In a press conference in Ahmedabad, the firebrand Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader said Congress has agreed to give Patidars reservations under section 31 and provisions of section 46.

Hardik Patel was supposed to announce the support to Congress earlier but after differences cropped up between PAAS and the Congress over seat sharing in Botad assembly constituency, the announcement was postponed.

It was only after the Congress accommodated as many as five of the 89 candidates in the first phase of polls that Hardik Patel decided to back Congress.

The PAAS has been agitating against the government for more than two years over the issue of reservation for the Patidar community and has pledged to oppose the ruling BJP in the coming state assembly elections in December.

The first phase of Gujarat Assembly elections for 89 seats will be held on December 9 and for the remaining 93 on December 14. The results will be announced along with that of Himachal Pradesh assembly on December 18.