Patidar movement leader Hardik Patel on Thursday said he had asked members of his community to vote the Bharatiya Janata Party out of power in Gujarat in the upcoming Assembly elections. His comments come amid reports that he had met Rahul Gandhi last week during the Congress vice president’s visit to the poll-bound state. Patel and his aides, however, have repeatedly denied this.

“I have been telling my community that they have to vote the BJP out of power,” he told NDTV. “The community is directly supporting the fall of the BJP.”

Patel’s statements seem to imply his support for the Congress in the Gujarat polls. “People are intelligent,” he said. “When I tell them to vote the BJP out, they know whom to vote for.”

On October 28, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti convenor had warned the Congress to make its stand clear on reservation for the Patidar community by Thursday, or face protests. Gandhi is scheduled to address a rally in Surat’s Varaccha on Thursday.

The Congress, on October 21, had invited Patel to join hands to fight against the BJP in the upcoming Assembly elections. Patel had said he was ready to support the Congress if his community’s demand for reservations in jobs and education were met.