Thane, Apr 7 (PTI) The tone of the BJP had changed and the party, which earlier claimed it would come to power in 2019 on its own, was now saying the NDA would win, senior Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai said today.

Addressing a public meeting here, the Maharashtra Industries Minister added that the Sena, an alliance partner in the state government, would fight the polls alone next year.

“BJP, which all along said it would come to power on its own, now remembers its friends. Its tone has changed in the past six months. It now talks about the NDA,” Desai said.

He added that Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray was the most popular leader in the state and the party, under his leadership, would capture power on its own strength.

“The Sena chief has said that we will fight the polls alone and all Sainiks should start working towards that aim,” he said

He claimed that leaders who had left the Sena had suffered.

“Chaggan Bhujbal is in jail, Narayan Rane has been externed from the state (referring to his elevation to the Rajya Sabha) and Ganesh Naik (former NCP MLA from Navi Mumbai) is sitting at home. Leaving the Sena is political suicide,” Desai claimed.

He said that the Sena would be setting up a “defence squad” to protect women suburban railway commuters as the incidents of attacks on them had increased.

“It is only the Sena which can protect citizens and commuters,” he claimed.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.