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Indian Opposition Likely to Use Cambridge Analytica Than Counter Meddling - NGO

© AFP 2023 / Daniel LEAL-OLIVAS / A laptop showing the Facebook logo is held alongside a Cambridge Analytica sign at the entrance to the building housing the offices of Cambridge Analytica, in central London
A laptop showing the Facebook logo is held alongside a Cambridge Analytica sign at the entrance to the building housing the offices of Cambridge Analytica, in central London - Sputnik International
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Indian opposition parties are more likely to use the political services of foreign consultancy companies like Cambridge Analytica (CA) than urge for punitive measures against them for intervening in the Bihar Assembly 2010 elections, Prabhloch Singh, the founder of the Punjab-based Human Rights Protection Group said.

The allegations made against the consultancy company of its involvement globally in elections have led to scrutiny of the CA’s involvement in India's Bihar Assembly Elections in 2010, in which a coalition of Janata Dal United and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the election with 206 seats between them in the 243-seat Assembly, which is 63 more seats than they had in the previous election.

"I will not be surprised if they are more interested in knowing how they can avail of services such as that of CA to ensure their own victory instead of ensuring punitive measures for those who allegedly made use of such services in 2010," Singh said.

According to information posted on CA’s website, its client won a landslide victory in the elections, achieving over 90 percent of total seats targeted by CA through in-depth electoral analysis and targeting swing voters.

UK Channel 4 released an expose on Monday which showed executives from CA claiming that they had assisted political parties in a number of elections in the US in 2016, Kenya in 2013 and 2017, Mexico and Malaysia, with plans to expand to Brazil and China. CA has also been accused of a personal data breach on Facebook, gathering data of up to 50 million of the social media platform's users.

READ MORE: Ukrainian Trace Found in Cambridge Analytica Data Mining Scandal — Report

Singh stated that undue interference in elections is not a new phenomenon, and that the interference of CA in the Bihar Assembly elections in 2010 is another example of voter fraud common in the state.

"The state of democracy in Bihar, unfortunately, has never been up to the mark … I see it as nothing less than what I may like to call, 'digital booth capturing.' Where, with the help of technology, unethical methods were allegedly deployed to ensure victory in the Bihar elections," Singh said.

According to Singh, parties have reverted from using one type of voter fraud, booth capture, which required political parties to use muscle power and vote in place of legitimate voters at polling booths, to bribing voters to vote for their candidates.

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Singh stated that the Election Commission of India, responsible for administering election processes in India, should disqualify any political party reverting to using consultancy companies like CA from participation in elections.

"[The election commission] should enact and implement strict guidelines which should disqualify any political party that tries to indulge in activities such as the ones alleged in this case," Singh said.

Since the discovery of the interference of CA in the Bihar Assembly Elections, the BJP accused the Indian National Congress (INC) on Wednesday of also being a client of the company. The INC has denied its use of CA services, calling it fake news, in a press statement released on the day.

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