The BJP on Thursday accused Rahul Gandhi of doing politics on dead bodies, after the Congress chief criticised the government over the killing of 39 Indians in Iraq. 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 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 do politics on dead bodies of Indians who lost their lives in very unfortunate circumstances,” he told reporters. His response came after Gandhi suggested that the government had “invented” a story about the Congress’ alleged links with a controversial data firm to divert the media attention from these deaths as it was caught “lying” on the issue.
Prasad insisted that the Congress has used the services of Cambridge Analytica, which has been accused of harvesting people’s data from platforms like Facebook unlawfully to influence elections in different countries. 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 yesterday.
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 an 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.