Political slugfest erupts after whistleblower claims Cong-Cambridge Analytica links

RSTV Bureau

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The war of words between the BJP and Congress over the issue of Facebook data sharing and privacy intensified after Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower Christopher Wylie on Tuesday claimed that the Congress could have had employed their services in India.

Soon after his statement was carried in the press worldwide, the ruling BJP once again targeted the principal opposition party.

“The whistleblower has publicly confirmed that the Congress was indeed their client. Rahul Gandhi had been trying to divert attention. Today, he stands exposed. The Congress and Rahul Gandhi must apologise to the nation,” Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

Wylie made claims while giving his statement deposing in front of a UK Parliamentary Committee. He also told the committee that Cambridge Analytica had worked extensively in India and Congress was its client.

In an explosive claims, the whistleblower also said the data firm tried to influence the 2014 Brexit referendum.

Meanwhile, reacting to Wylie’s claims and BJP’s attacks thereafter, the Congress party said it has no truck with Cambridge Analytica.

“The Congress has had no truck with Cambridge Analytica ever or have we ever hired its services. But BJP needs to answer, who was this NRI business person who hired Cambridge Analytica in the run-up to 2014 polls to manufacture false surveys, to ask leading questions and to bring down the Congress Government?” Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.

He also accused Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad of “lying” and sought to know if the government would lodge a case against Facebook, OBI and Cambridge Analytica for the truth to come out.

Meanwhile Cambridge Analytica has hit back at whistleblower Christopher Wylie who claimed that he “believed” that the Congress party was firm’s client. Cambridge Analytica said that Chris Wylie was a part-time contractor who left Cambridge Analytica in July 2014 and has no direct knowledge of the company’s work or practices since that date.

The firm further added that Wylie has misrepresented himself and the company to the UK parliamentary committee, and to the news media.

Both the parties have been slugging it out, even in the online space, ever since the controversy broke out last week.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi had even targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his twitter handle alleging his Namo App was compromising with the user data.

On the other hand, BJP aggressively tore down on the Congress party app, alleging the data of users being shared by a third-party vendor in Singapore. Congress also drew flak after they pulled down their app soon after BJP’s charges.