Prominent Congress supporter Shehzad Poonawalla who has had a spectacular fall out with the party and its leadership, has revealed what he claims is a pitch made by Cambridge Analytica to the Congress party for bagging it as one of its clients.
As reported by India Today, Shehzad released a 49 page document titled, “Data Driven Campaign: The Path to the 2019 Lok Sabha” – which is supposed to be Cambridge Analytica’s pitch to the Congress party. This document is speculated to have been prepared in August 2017.
Under this pitch believed to be prepared by Cambridge Analytica’s CEO Alexander Nix, an election strategy for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and the assembly elections in Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh was laid out. Shehzad has alleged that the pitch was made in form of a presentation to current Congress president Rahul Gandhi.
Few of the tools laid out for the strategy included data mining, national situational analysis, data driven campaign, strategic communication review, media monitoring to name a few. Under data mining, the agency proposed to source data from sources like Facebook, Twitter, party websites, mobile apps and build segments to provide insights.
The pitch also proposed the creation of a National Data Infrastructure Project containing an operation centre acting as the party’s nerve centre for campaign coordination and planning.
The pitch in question estimated cost of research to be about Rs 2.5 crore which has been termed as “undervalued” by Shehzad who claims the real deal ranges anything between Rs 200 to Rs 500 crore.
If indeed true, this revelation might put the Congress party in further soup with regards to its relationship with the controversial data analytics agency. When the “sins” of Cambridge Analytica came into prominence a month back, Congress’ social media head promptly denied any sort of links with the data agency.
This claim was punctured by Cambridge Analytica’s whistleblower who during a hearing at the British parliament named the party as one of the agency’s clients. Further evidence in this regard emerged when Congress party’s poster was seen hanging on Cambridge Analytica CEO’s office wall while he was interviewed by author and journalist Jamie Bartlett.