This is testing time for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the toughest in his two-and-half years rule at the Centre. His response to Pakistan-backed terror attack on the Indian Army brigade headquarters at Uri, which comes in close succession to the attack on the Indian Air Force base station at Pathankot, will decide whether he should be taken as a strong and decisive leader or his 'chhapan inch ki chhati' would be lampooned.
He has often been equated with the late prime minister Indira Gandhi but so far that comparison and contrast was in terms of popularity, reach and making the party win elections on personal charisma in states where its organisational base was not strong. Despite her failings on several counts, Indira was called Durga as she took the call of militarily engaging with Pakistan and winning it decisively. It's a different matter though that India lost its gain over Pakistan in the Shimla Accord. However, Indira is considered to be one of the strongest Indian leaders.
The test is not only for Modi but also for his number two in the government and for the BJP and the RSS to prove that they meant what they said in the run-up to 2014 parliamentary elections. But all eyes are on Modi.
After all, India had overwhelmingly and decisively voted for Modi, the first single party majority government in the last 30 years. He was not called Chhote Sardar (after Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel) by his supporters for nothing. A majority of his supporters saw in him a mix of Vikas Purush(development man) andLoh Purush (iron man). It's time for Modi to meet their expectations.
The current national mood — after a series of backstabs and terror attacks by Pakistan, most recently Pathankot and Uri and fomenting trouble in Kashmir Valley — is of assertive nationalism.
That prevalent national mood is best reflected by the manner in which a 2.10-minute video of a BSP jawan reciting a patriotic poem inside a bus full of his other jawans went viral on social media. "Jakar Bata Do pakistanion ko....hum darte nahi atom bombo se, visfotak poto se hum darte hai to Shimla, Tashkant jaise samjhuaton se....Kashmir to hoga par Pakistan nahi hoga.....". The other jawans shouting in chorus Pakistan nahi hoga. This has an inherent message for the political ruling class, don't make us sacrifice and then concede the gains for a farcical truce with Pakistan. Wage a decisive war against this troublesome neighbour.
The BJP national general secretary's Facebook post is also interesting as it comes from someone higher up in ruling echelon: "The Prime Minister has promised that those behind the Uri terror attack will not go unpunished. That should be the way forward. For one tooth, the complete jaw. Days of so-called strategic restraint are over. If terrorism is the instrument of the weak and coward, restraint in the face of repeated terror attacks betrays inefficiency and incompetence. India should prove otherwise."