Sunday, March 26, 2023
HomePlugged InHackathon dismissed by papers, but raises Arnab’s hackles

Hackathon dismissed by papers, but raises Arnab’s hackles

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What do Hindustan Times, The Indian Express, and The Times of India have in common today? A half-page advertisement on Page 1, leaving little space for the news.

The news, by the way, has not been hacked. Leading newspapers resist the temptation to lead with the EVM hackathon held in London Monday afternoon that made news and views on TV news last evening.

The newspapers treat the “hacker” who claimed EVMs could be manipulated ahead of elections dismissively. Both TOI and HT mention him on the front-page flaps with one column space.

TOI focuses on the Election Commission’s take on the matter: “EC denies claims of ‘cyber agent’ that 2014 polls were rigged”.

The hacker, apparently, didn’t show up at the live demonstration because he was allegedly “attacked recently”, HT adds almost scornfully. He doesn’t appear to have shown up in The Express either. No matter, TV anchors like Arnab Goswami more than made up for it Monday evening (Read: Prime Time).

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi takes centrestage on a day of sparse news. “CJI pulls out of CBI case hearing” reads The Hindu’s lead story. Straightforward enough, but the reports confuse with different leads.

The Hindu’s opening paragraph states that Gogoi “ordered the plea to be placed before a Bench led by the number two Supreme Court judge, Justice A.K. Sikri, on January 24”.

The Express claims he recused himself because “he would be attending a meeting on January 24 to select a new CBI Director” (“CJI decides not to hear plea challenging interim CBI chief appointment”).

ET put 2 and 2 together: Gogoi recused himself because “he would be taking part in a process to select a new CBI director. He sent the case to Justice AK Sikri, the next senior-most judge in the court”.

Speaking of the courts, the cllegium is back on the front pages. “CJI succession line key to Khanna’s elevation?” asks HT.

In this exclusive, HT says the elevation of Justice Sanjiv Khanna to the SC, even though his name did not appear on the original list of judges to be elevated, may have had a compelling reason: “Before Justice Khanna was recommended, the collegium was confronted with a peculiar problem — not having a judge who would have enough experience in the top court before going on to become chief justice”, claims the report. Justice Khanna’s elevation solves the problem, it adds.

TOI writes in “Collegium goes along with govt’s nixing of 11 names for HC judges”, that this decision to… “drop several names from the list of HC judges to be elevated resulted in an “unprecedented success” for the Centre.


Kumbh mela as a measure of unemployment? You may not think so but Mahesh Vyas, CEO of thinktank Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, sees a connection in “Hopes on Kumbh” (Business Standard).

“Melas and rallies are an interesting barometer of unemployment. The larger the melas and rallies, the higher we expect the unemployment rate to be,” he writes. He says 15-20 million devotees took a dip in the Ganga 15 January… “about 2.5 per cent of India’s labour force”.

In Express, Ashutosh Varshney, the director of the Centre for Contemporary South Asia, Brown University, also takes a “View from city’s margins”.

He finds disenchantment with PM Modi after travelling through different parts of India. Among the urban poor, “Modi critics far outmatch Modi supporters” for reasons of demonetisation “that inflicted untold misery and suffering” on them, as well as the poor implementation of schemes such as Swachh Bharat and Jan Dhan.

Varshney refers to the PM’s promise of Rs 15 lakh in each bank account. The failure to deliver on this typifies what the urban poor see as his “jhoote vaade (false promises)”.

Prime Time

The “London hackathon” raised the hackles of everyone at prime time — from Republic and India Today to Zee News — and led to at least one near walk-out and one dismissal on the grounds of “nationalism”: Times Now saw the EVM hacking presentation in London as a “plot to defame India”.

India Today’s Rajdeep Sardesai asked whether the EVM hackathon was staged by the Congress.’

He was perplexed by the “wild conspiracy theories” and “sensational claims” made at the event, especially the allegation that BJP leader Gopinath Munde’s death was murder.

“Is your party associated with these?” he asked Congress spokesperson Mohammed Khan, referring to senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal’s presence at the event.

“Absurd,” replied Khan. He claimed Sibal was at the event as a guest of the organiser.

BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia indulged in word play: “EVMs cannot be tampered with, but Rahul Gandhi and Congress’s minds have been ‘tampered’ and ‘hacked’,” he added.

On Republic, anchor Arnab Goswami allowed Rajiv Desai, who represents the Congress’ views, to have the first word on the controversy.

Desai attacked Goswami, saying any “normal journalist” would debate the questions raised by at the hackathon.

The debate then took a bizarre twist: Goswami led it back to “accident after accident” and the deaths of several senior Congress leaders mysteriously in the past. What if someone held “a press conference in Honolulu” to ask how these people died, he said to Desai.

“Who killed L.N. Mishra? Who killed L.N. Mishra?” asked journalist Kanchan Gupta, whose views are usually in sync with the BJP’s.

Desai decided it was time to leave the debate: “Walking out is not the answer,” observed Goswami.

Zee News welcomed back Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi. His presence at the debate was a rarity, as Congress leaders seldom visit Zee’s studios.

In a lengthy interview excerpt, Singhvi denied the Congress’ involvement in the EVM hackathon and insisted that Sibal was not representing the party at the gathering.

On Aaj Tak, anchor Rohit Sardana changed the topic to the Bengal government’s alleged refusal to allow BJP president Amit Shah to land in Malda Monday.

Trinamool Congress spokesperson Monojit Mondal said, “There is a Make in India jumla factory being run by Modi baba: Permission has been given to the BJP to land their helicopters. The BJP is lying.” He added, dismissively, that the BJP had only three MLAs in the state.

“If we have the strength of just 3 MLAs then why is a rally of 25 parties being organised in Kolkata (against us)?” demanded an irate Sudhanshu Trivedi of the BJP.

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  1. A million dollar question how the nears of Sonia Gandhi were killed needs to be probed
    Rajesh Pilot n Madhav Rao scindhia both died in mysterious circumstances.
    Why no probe till date
    Opposition esp CONGRESS wants to use muscle power to capture votes n fake ballot paper when all opposition will unite against EVM

  2. Whoever wrote this article seems like a dyslexic. There is no continuation, there is no focus just random use of commas, fullstops and quotations. You need to have a structure while writing a article. This is just random gibberish.

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