Kolkata, Jan 9 (PTI) The Trinamool Congress Wednesday sought to downplay the crossing over of its MP Saumitra Khan to the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, saying it has already expelled the leader from the party.

A jubilant state BJP, while reacting to the development, said the beginning of the TMC’s end has started in West Bengal.

“He was not in touch with the party for a long time. He was not working in his area properly. He was well aware that he would not be given Lok Sabha ticket this year. We decided to expel him from the party this morning. The expulsion letter has been sent to him,” a senior TMC leader said.

The leadership has also asked its parliamentary party to initiate action against Khan so that he is disqualified as a Trinamool MP, the leader said.

Khan, who represents Bishnupur seat in Bankura district in the Lok Sabha, Wednesday joined the BJP in New Delhi, giving a fillip to the saffron party’s campaign in West Bengal in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls.

Senior BJP leader Mukul Roy, who is believed to have played a key role in bringing Khan to the BJP fold, told PTI, “It is just the beginning. There are many others in queue. Just wait and watch.” With Khan joining the BJP, TMC tally in Lok Sabha is down to 33 out of a total 42 seats in the state.

Khan, who was earlier with the Congress, had joined the TMC in 2013 just months ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The then TMC general secretary Mukul Roy had played a key role in inducting him to it. Roy joined the BJP in 2017.

For the last few weeks, Khan had been openly criticising TMC leadership in the state.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.