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Plagiarism slur on BJP IT cell

BJP using start-up firm's template for their website without paying or giving credit to them

  • Published 26.03.19, 3:43 AM
  • Updated 26.03.19, 11:41 AM
  • 2 mins read
An illustration of Narendra Modi on the BJP homepage.

A small Nellore-based start-up has alleged the BJP used one of its templates for the party’s new website without a back-link crediting the designer, the plagiarism charge calling into question the party’s claim to be a “chowkidar’’ (sentinel) against wrongdoing.

“Why world’s largest and India’s ruling political party plagiarised our work without giving us credit?” tweeted W3Layouts — “a one-stop development platform that lets every individual create a stunning and professional website’’.

W3Layouts blogged that it was initially pleased to learn that the BJP had picked one of its templates for its new website, constructed after the previous one was hacked into earlier this month.

According to Webopedia, an online tech dictionary for IT professionals, “in search engine optimisation terminology, a back-link is a hyperlink that links from a web page back to your own web page or website’’.

Also called an inbound link or IBL, these links are important in determining the popularity (or importance) of a website.

“The design used by BJP was ‘Peek’ — a Landing Page Bootstrap Responsive Web Template…. While the design is free-to-use, it includes a back-link. A small link at the end of the page, which indicates that the design was ‘design by W3Layouts’,’’ the start-up blogged.

“We, at W3Layouts, were initially happy and excited that BJP IT cell was using our template, then devastated to see our work being used by BJP removing the back-link without paying, and giving no credit whatsoever to W3Layouts.’’

Amit Malviya, who is in charge of the BJP’s national information and technology wing, told The Telegraph: “Their code was dropped after they insisted on a back-link as it is not something we do in normal course. We had, in fact, offered to mention their name but since it didn’t find favour, we preferred to work with an alternate solution. We are not using their template.”

While the matter was settled with the BJP dropping W3Layouts’ template, the start-up’s founder Hidayath stressed that the licence agreement was clear that “you are not allowed to remove back-link to W3Layouts in (the) template unless you have paid for (the) template’’.

He contested Malviya’s claim that the BJP had offered to mention the start-up’s name. “They never communicated about that and they started making changes. Only text is not enough; it should be a hyperlink to W3Layouts. After noticing they are adding only text, we tweeted what to do,’’ Hidayath said.

Hidayath had been alerted by a netizen, Ashish R. Sharma, who tracked the BJP website and found it a “rushed-up job’’ where, “moreover, they end up using free templates from @W3Layouts”.

Just as this controversy was dying down, Prime Minister Narendra Modi found himself facing flak for using his Twitter handle to sell #MainBhiChowkidar merchandise.

On Sunday, Modi had pasted, below one of his own tweets, a tweet from @namomerchandise promoting Main Bhi Chowkidar T-shirts and asked: “Have you ordered yours?”

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