Cam­bridge An­a­lyt­ica CEO Nix met Rahul, tried to sell poll strat­egy

Millennium Post - - FRONT PAGE -

NEW DELHI: Re­search firm Cam­bridge An­a­lyt­ica (CA), which is em­broiled in a huge data min­ing scan­dal, made a pro­posal to the Congress party in Oc­to­ber-novem­ber last year for “data min­ing of Face­book posts and tweets” and “in­flu­enc­ing voter in­ten­tion” for the 2019 na­tional elec­tion. Ac­cord­ing to re­port by NDTV web­site, the CA pro­posal en­vis­aged a “data-driven cam­paign” at a cost of $389,460 (about Rs 2.5 crore).

Congress sources said that such a meet­ing did, in­deed, take place but de­nied that it had ever signed any deal with Cam­bridge An­a­lyt­ica. “Just be­ing the re­cip­i­ent of a com­mer­cial pro­posal does not au­to­mat­i­cally im­ply a con­trac­tual en­gage­ment be­tween the party and the ven­dor,” Congress Data An­a­lyt­ics Depart­ment Head Praveen Chakravarthy was quoted as say­ing by NDTV.

The 50-page pro­posal, dated Au­gust 2017, is ti­tled ‘Data-driven Cam­paign: The Path to the 2019 Lok Sabha’. The web­site added that Cam­bridge An­a­lyt­ica CEO Alexan­der Nix, who has since been sus­pended, per­son­ally pitched the pro­posal to the Congress. Nix re­port­edly met then Congress Vice-pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi and for­mer Union min­is­ters Jairam Ramesh and P Chi­dambaram.

What the com­pany of­fered in­cluded “Data min­ing of Face­book posts and Tweets”, “ex­tract­ing ground­break­ing in­sights and shift bal­ance in your favour”, “in­flu­enc­ing voter in­ten­tion, to take spe­cific ac­tions”, the NDTV web re­port said.

Sources also told NDTV that the Congress re­jected the pro­posal be­cause Cam­bridge An­a­lyt­ica was con­sid­ered “right wing” and the party sus­pected that the com­pany was try­ing to in­fil­trate the Congress. “The Congress party has not en­gaged Cam­bridge An­a­lyt­ica or any of its sub­sidiaries for any elec­tion cam­paigns. This has been re-it­er­ated mul­ti­ple times in the past,” said Chakravarthy.

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