I am sure there would be arguments that it is a personal matter between the Army chief and the government and should NOT be seen as a fight between the Army and the government. Sure, but try telling that to the common man, sick as he is of the inept handling of a series of cases in recent years by the government. For him, it was the honour and dignity of the nation's top soldier that the government failed to protect.
Remember, it is the same government that has some of its ministers (Raja), senior functionaries (Behura), top politicians (Kalmadi) in jail for the corruption scandals it finds itself embroiled in. It is the same government that the common man feels has made corruption its byword and does not want to curb the menace (Lokpal Bill fiasco). It is the same government that has tried to undermine the prestige of independent auditor (CAG). When a government that suffers such trust deficit is challenged by a man who holds the top position of the organisation that the common man feels is a shining beacon of India, it is easy to see who people believe.