The government on Thursday continued its attack on Congress president Rahul Gandhi over Facebook data leak scandal involving British consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica. In fresh allegations against the Congress chief, Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that the Gandhi scion used the services of Cambridge Analytics in Gujarat Assembly elections in 2017.
Addressing a press conference, Prasad said that Rahul Gandhi must come clean on the issue, citing media reports during Gujarat elections regarding the issue. He gave reference to reports published in two business dailies and one English newspaper to assert his point.
Hitting out at the Congress chief, Prasad further said that he cannot back out on his alleged ties with Cambridge Analytica.
This came hours after Rahul Gandhi took to microblogging site Twitter alleging that the data leak story was invented by the government to divert attention from the issue of killing of Indians in Iraq’s Mosul by terrorist group ISIS.
Rahul tweeted that media networks bit the “bait”, making issue of death of 39 Indians in Iraq “vanish from radar”. He said that the Narendra Modi government was “caught lying” on the issue.
On Wednesday as well, the government had targeted the Gandhi scion and the Congress party over Facebook data theft.
Prasad had asked if the Congress party would “depend on data theft and manipulation to win elections?” He had further asked, “What is the role of Cambridge Analytica in social media profile of Rahul Gandhi?”
The minister further pointed to earlier reports of bots allegedly being used to artificially increase Rahul Gandhi’s social media following, asking “how much data of Indians have the Congress party shared with foreign firms like Cambridge Analytica”.
The Congress, however, denied any link with the data theft. Head of Congress social media wing Divya Spandana (Ramya) had tweeted, "News about Congress engaged/engaging with Cambridge Analytica is absolutely false."
She also accused the government of diverting attention from the 39 Indians who died in Iraq. "Can you please tell us why your government lied to us about the 39 Indians who died in Iraq? You hid the information and now you’re trying to divert attention from the issue by making outrageous allegations against the Congress party," she said.