In the first response on the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial (Amendment) Bill, 2019 introduced by Tourism Minister, Prahlad Singh Patel in the Lok Sabha on July 7, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said that it is wrong to do so.
Speaking to media, the Punjab CM said:
"This is wrong. Since the time Jallianwala Bagh memorial was made, Congress presidents have been its trustee. Therefore, now, to say that remove Congress is not right." (Bilkul galat baat hai. Jab Jallianwala Bagh trust bana tha us time se Congress saath rahi. Aaj ye kehna ki Congress party ko isse hata ye koi sahi baat nahi hai.")
The Congress vehemently opposed the bill with its leader Shashi Tharoor urging the government not to betray history and the heritage by removing the Congress President citing the grand old party's long association with the trust. The Bill amends the Jallianwala Bagh National Memorial Act, 1951. Under the 1951 Act, the Trustees of the Memorial include the Prime Minister as Chairperson, the President of the Indian National Congress, the Minister in-charge of Culture, the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, the Governor of Punjab, the Chief Minister of Punjab and three eminent persons nominated by the Central government.
The current bill seeks to do away with the automatic nomination of the President of the Indian National Congress as a Trustee. Further, it clarifies that when there is no Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha then the leader of the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha will be the Trustee. Speaking on Congress' opposition of the bill, Akali Dal leader Majinder Singh Sirsa said that hundreds of people died there, it does not belong to Congress. "We need to free Indian legacy from the clutches of Congress, the Jallianwala Bagh is a national heritage."
The Modi government had attempted to get the Bill for the same through at the near end of its first tenure, passing it in Lok Sabha in February 2019. However, the Rajya Sabha did not pass the Bill amid strong opposition from the Congress party and it therefore lapsed with the 16th Lok Sabha.