West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee should clarify whether her earlier utterances that there were no Maoists in the State were “correct or wrong,” said Biman Bose, chairman of the State's Left Front Committee here on Sunday, a day after she set a seven-day deadline for the extremists in the Jangalmahal region on her offer of talks on condition that they give up their arms.

“They [the Trinamool Congress] had a pact [with the Maoists] during their campaign against the Left Front government. So, all of a sudden they just cannot change their position,” Mr. Bose said.

It was against such a backdrop that the Chief Minister's remarks on negotiations were “confusing,” he said.

“The Trinamool Congress-led government has repeatedly said there are no Maoists [in the State]. It had wanted to ignore the fact that a problem existed in the Jangalmahal area. Now all of a sudden they [the Trinamool Congress] have started saying if they [the Maoists] do not sit for peace talks, if they do not surrender their arms, then we will see how strong they are.

“This raises the question whether the earlier utterances of the Trinamool Congress chief are correct or wrong. This should be admitted by the Chief Minister as this is a democratically elected government.”