BJP Using Cambridge Analytica to Divert Attention: Rahul Gandhi

BJP, Congress at loggerheads after Ravi Shankar Prasad alleged links between Congress & Cambridge Analytica.

3 min read
Congress President Rahul Gandhi and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Launching a stinging attack on the government, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said the BJP-led government has invented a story on data theft by the Congress to divert attention from the death of 39 Indians who were abducted by Islamic States terror group in Iraq.

The Congress president also accused the government of baiting the media to shift focus from the row over ruling party’s “insensitive” treatment of the death of the construction workers in Iraq.

Surjewala Likens Ravi Shankar Prasad to Goebbels

Adding to the chorus, Congress’ communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala, on Thursday, said Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was spreading "lies and falsehood" so the Modi government could avoid giving answers in Parliament.

He also asked why the Modi government “misled” the country for four years on the killing of 39 Indians after their kidnapping in Mosul of Iraq.

Hitler had an associate called Goebbels, Modi ji has an associate called Ravi Shankar Prasad. BJP government has become a manufacturer of fake news. Sabse bade data chor macha rahe hain sabse zyada shor (The biggest thieves of data are making the most noise).
Randeep Surjewala

"The truth is that Modi government is denigrating and disrespecting the institution of Parliament. The truth is that the Modi government is running from accountability to Parliament. The truth is that Modi government is scared of replying to the relevant questions being raised by people of the country in front of Parliament and people," he said.

He said 'no confidence motions' were pending against the government but instead of considering them, Parliament was being adjourned.

Bringing up the PNB scam and the deaths of 39 kidnapped Indians in Iraq, he said 132 crore people want to know how Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi ran away with the country's Rs 33,000 crore. The government, he added, misled the country on those kidnapped in Iraq for four years.

Surjewala also referred to agrarian distress, unemployment and the SSC paper leak scam.

"The Modi government does not want to answer these questions, that is why Parliament is not allowed to function... Instead, advice is being given to opposition parties and everyday new 'fake agenda' is prepared," he alleged.

The BJP government, he added, has become a "manufacturer of fake news and an epitome of post truth".

Rahul Politicising Death of 39 Indians in Iraq: BJP

Hitting back at Rahul Gandhi, the BJP accused him politicising dead bodies.

Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also rejected the Congress' claim that it had never used the services of Cambridge Analytica, and insisted that the opposition party and Gandhi did do it.

Addressing a press conference, Prasad said that it was the Congress which had disrupted proceedings in the Lok Sabha when External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had sought to make a statement on the deaths of these Indians.

All I will tell Rahul Gandhi he should not politicise dead bodies of Indians who lost their lives in very unfortunate circumstances.
Ravi Shankar Prasad

Prasad insisted that the Congress has used the services of Cambridge Analytica, which has been accused of unlawfully harvesting people's data from platforms like Facebook to influence elections in different countries.

Rahul Gandhi’s entire social media campaign has been managed with the help of Cambridge Analytica and they have had meetings also.
Ravi Shankar Prasad

He said several media reports about the opposition party using the services of the firm had appeared in October and November last year and it never denied those stories till the BJP raised the issue.

Prasad alleged that imprints of Cambridge Analytica were “visible” in the Congress’ campaign in Gujarat. It ran a “poisonous and divisive campaign” in the state, he claimed.

The opposition party maintained a conspicuous silence on the role of a dubious company, he said, adding that it prompts him to question whether it has the ability to run this country.

On questions about reports that an Indian company, which was Cambridge Analytica's partner, might have worked for the BJP and its allies as well, Prasad insisted that his party never had any ties with the foreign company.

There is no authentic confirmation of any Indian partner of the company working for the BJP or its allies, he said.

He, however, sought to make a distinction between Cambridge Analytica and its partner, saying the former has been accused of using honey trap and data theft.

The Congress and the BJP have been engaged in a war of words over British data firm Cambridge Analytica (CA) and its Indians arms being engaged during past elections. The company is under a cloud after social media firm Facebook accused it of data theft.

CA's Indian arm Ovelina Business Intelligence (OBI) is run by JD-U leader K C Tyagi's son Amrish Tyagi.

(With PTI inputs)

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