The international storm over Cambridge Analytica, a Facebook associate, which was involved in a breach of user information to allegedly influence polls in the US and the UK, has spilled over into the Indian political arena as a war of words between BJP and Congress continued for the second day. Even though Cambridge Analytica’s Indian partner Ovleno Business Intelligence (OBI), owned by Amrish Tyagi, son of senior JD(U) leader KC Tyagi, lists BJP, Congress and JD(U) as its clients on its website, all the parties said it did not engage the data firm in elections.
Who said what over the Cambridge Analytica controversy:
BJP trying to divert from Iraq issue with this: Rahul Gandhi
Congress president Rahul Gandhi said the government had “invented” a story about the Congress’ alleged links with a controversial data firm to divert the media attention from the killings of Indians in Iraq as it was caught “lying” on the issue. “Problem: 39 Indians dead; Govt on the mat, caught lying. Solution: Invent story on Congress & Data Theft. Result: Media networks bite bait; 39 Indians vanish from radar. Problem solved,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
Problem: 39 Indians dead; Govt on the mat, caught lying.
Solution: Invent story on Congress & Data Theft.
Result: Media networks bite bait; 39 Indians vanish from radar.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 22, 2018
Randeep Surjewala slams IT minister
Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala hit out at PM Modi and Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, saying, “Hitler had an associate called Goebbels, Modi ji has an associate called Ravi Shankar Prasad. BJP Govt has become a manufacturer of fake news. Sabse bade data chor macha rahe hain sabse zyada shor (The biggest data thieves are making the most noise).”
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JD(U) leader KC Tyagi on son’s link and CA’s role in 2010 Bihar polls
JD(U) leader KC Tyagi said there was only a work relationship between his son Amrish’s company and Cambridge Analytica and there was no financial transaction. “There was only a work relation between my son Amrish’s company and Cambridge Analytica, there is no financial transaction or shareholding, everything is open to probe. JD(U) also has no links with this, neither did they promote us in 2010 polls,” Tyagi said. Defending party chief Nitish Kumar, Tyagi further said the Bihar chief minister never met the CEO. “JD(U) has no relation with Cambridge Analytics. Neither has its CEO ever met Nitish Kumar nor me. JD(U) is a socialist outfit and we stay away from such things, except for Prashant Kishore helping us during last assembly polls,” Tyagi added.
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav takes a dig at BJP
Wading into the row, Bihar former deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav said since BJP’s popularity on Facebook was declining, they were challenging its CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “As BJP’s popularity is going down on Facebook, they are challenging Facebook’s owner that he can be summoned. The government should tell us that if they have powers, why can’t they summon Nirav Modi, Lalit Modi and Vijay Mallya,” Yadav asked.
Hitting out at JD(U) for denying links with Cambridge Analytica, Yadav said, “BJP is in the client list of the company, run by KC Tyagi’s son. JD(U) general secretary’s son is involved and JD(U) is saying that we do not know anything,” the RJD leader said.
Harsimrat Kaur Badal alleges Rahul Gandhi has links to Cambridge Analytica
Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Thursday hit out at Rahul Gandhi over his allegation that the government “invented” a story on “data theft” by the Congress to divert attention from the death of 39 Indians in Iraq, saying it showed his “hollowness”. “This shows his (Gandhi’s) hollowness and childishness. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj wanted to make a statement in the Lok Sabha on the deaths of the 39 Indians missing in Iraq’s Mosul, but the Congress party (members) created noise, not allowing her to speak,” Badal said. The SAD member said Gandhi was attacking the Centre to cover up Congress’ links to Cambridge Analytica. “This showed how in desperation Rahul Gandhi joined hands with such companies and to run away from this, such baseless allegations are being made,” Badal added.