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Did Congress, BJP and JD(U) Hired Services of Cambridge Analytica?

21 March 2018

The firm, the minister alleged, has been accused of using "sex, sleaze and fake news" to influence elections and asked if the Congress too planned to walk the same path.

As the firestorm over the issue hit India, the government warned Facebook, which is being probed by U.S. and British lawmakers over a potential breach of user confidentiality, of stringent action if any attempt was made to influence the country's electoral process through "undesirable means".

Claiming that Cambridge Analytica and another Indian firm Ovelina Business Intelligence (OBI), run by the son of a prominent NDA leader from Bihar, complimented each other's businesses, Surjewala said their achievements include managing four successful election campaigns for the ruling BJP.

Hindustan Times reported on Monday, quoting Amrish Tyagi, son of JD (U) leader K C Tyagi, that OBI has worked on election campaigns in India for the BJP and independent candidates in the past.

"The Congress must explain if it has engaged in data trade with Cambridge Analytica", the minister said.

The BJP posed seven questions to the Congress asking if "data theft and manipulation ability" were the reason why the Congress hired the CA?

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"These days, there is a lot of news about CA and how it has been involved in data theft, psychometric analysis, data manipulation and subversion of democratic processes". The Congress has denied the allegation.

The Congress returned the fire and accused the BJP of having availed the firm's services in 2010.

"The country's IT and Law minister knows more about leaks than anyone else - be it Aadhaar database or call records, whichever ministry he's in charge of develops leaks", Surjewala jibed.

Mr Prasad, also the Union Law and IT Minister, went on to say in the same breadth the Modi government takes these issues very seriously and wondered "so far Congress party has not responded". "And this has become a daily order with Prasad".

He said the recent developments wherein the role of data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica has created uproar worldwide, relates not only to the functioning of a company, all these also relate to "national security and fairness of the election system".

Patra denied any association between the BJP and Analytica.

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Brahmins comprise 12-13 per cent of the electorate in UP, and the Congress has been straining to win them back for some years. He was assigned the role of UP Party President during the assembly election in 2017.

The JD-U won 115 seats in the 2010 election compared to 88 in the previous polls, while the BJP increased its seat tally from 55 to 91.

Prasad's main target, however, was the Congress, which betrayed concerns in the BJP over the rival's successful social media campaign.

The ET report titled "This is the Brahmastra Rahul Gandhi will hurl at PM Modi" was suggestive of the fact that the newspaper had obtained clinching evidence in support of its claim.

Prasad also said that though he is in favour of social media, however, its misuse will not be tolerated, especially by foreign firms.

Earlier in the day, Ravi Shankar Prasad alleged that the Congress Party has links with Cambridge Analytica. We had elections in Gujarat also.Now the onus is on Congress to tell whether it has enlisted the services of this company in the past and will it take their service in Karnataka.

Charges were levelled against the three parties after a new investigation conducted by Britain's Channel 4 found Cambridge Analytica swindling the electoral sentiment in India, apart from the US, Nigeria, Kenya, Argentina and the Czech Republic.

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Did Congress, BJP and JD(U) Hired Services of Cambridge Analytica?