Congress Data Analytics Head Denies Link with Cambridge Analytica

Chakravarty dispelled all allegations of the Congress being in direct engagement with Cambridge Analytica.

2 min read
Praveen Chakravarty, head of the data-analytics department of the Congress.

In an interview with Hindustan Times (HT), Praveen Chakravarty, the newly appointed head of the data-analytics department of the Congress, dispelled claims of the party being actively engaged with the recently defamed Cambridge Analytica.

Stating that the party had only held some discussions with the firm, much like it had with several other international companies, Chakravarty reportedly likened Cambridge Analytica to Nirav Modi and Facebook to the Punjab National Bank to state that in both situations, the two sides were equally to blame.

Chakravarty also spoke about the importance of data analytics in political proceedings, stressing however on the fact that it could never influence or determine the outcome of any elections.

On Role of Data-Analytics in Politics

The importance of data is not limited to elections only. And I am the first to say that data cannot win polls. 
Praveen Chakravarty to HT

He mentioned that the role of the department is to instead focus on data around various issues such as triple talaq or foreign policies and provide the party with the intel for them to form decisions around the same.

On being questioned on politics increasingly becoming ‘technocratic’, Chakravarty said:

Anything that helps us understand the voters and issues better is furthering the cause of representative democracy. Technology, data and data sciences through service have played a major role in this cause over the years. 

He added that one had to carefully distinguish between public data and private data and that for the former, the information could be “gleaned because of the tools of technology”.

On Cambridge Analytica Breach

Speaking about Cambridge Analytica’s alleged role in the events of Brexit and the US Presidential elections, Chakravarty said:

This issue is as much about Facebook as it is about Cambridge Analytica. In the context of a recent India example, if Cambridge Analytica is Nirav Modi, Facebook is the Punjab National Bank. That is the breach. Both are culprits.
Praveen Chakravarty to HT

On Congress Engagement with Cambridge Analytica

Affirming that the party was constantly in conversation with several Indian, US and UK firms and that Cambridge Analytica was one such firm, Chakravarty reiterated that the Congress had never actively engaged with the firm.

The Congress has not engaged with Cambridge Analytica in any manner. There are conversations happening all the time with various firms...Let’s not paint everybody with same brush and not throw the baby out of the bathwater.
Praveen Chakravarty to HT

On 2019 Elections

Speaking about the role of data analytics in the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Chakravarty said:

I don’t think that the 2019 election is anymore about arithmetic than an election in the past. I don’t think arithmetic or data analytics can win you elections on its own, it is one important element.
Praveen Chakravarty to HT

(With inputs from Hindustan Times)

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