Yesterday, Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie told a committee from the UK House of Commons that the controversial company had “worked extensively in India.” More importantly, Wylie claimed that they had worked for Congress.
Cambridge Analytica are a data analytics company that have become famous in the last few months because they were linked to Donald Trump’s presidential election victory in 2016. They have been in the news recently due to revelations that they were legally able to gather data on individuals via asking Facebook users to complete seemingly harmless quizzes.
Wylie’s comment has led to aggressive statements from the BJP on Congress’ supposed manipulation of elections in India. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad stated, “the Congress and he [Rahul Gandhi] must apologise to the nation.”
“The Congress and he [Rahul Gandhi] must apologise to the nation.” — Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad
However, the water becomes a little muddier when you factor in a report by The Print that claims Cambridge Analytica was pretending to work with Congress, while actually supplying information to the BJP. The story continues to say that unnamed Gujarati businessmen were behind the payments to ensure Congress lost the elections in their state.
Considering Wylie dealt primarily with operations in Western nations – his predecessor Dan Muresan was found dead in Kenya months before India’s 2013 election – it is potentially possible that he didn’t know the full story.
Congress has chosen to vehemently deny any accusations. The party’s spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala claimed that if there was any truth to the BJP’s story, they would have filed an FIR against Avneesh Rai. Rai is a partner at Ovleno Business Intelligence that partnered with Cambridge Analytica in India, and the source of the aforementioned The Print story.
Surjewala stated, “[Union Minister] Prasad has not rebutted Avneesh Rai. Prasad is lying. We dare him to lodge an FIR.”