The Congress on Friday announced it will not hold elections to its working committee and the members of the the top decision-making body will be nominated by party President Mallikarjun Kharge.

The decision was taken unanimously by members of the Congress’ steering committee at the party’s 85th plenary session being held at Raipur.

“The decision was taken unanimously in view of the political challenges that the country is facing and the challenges of Congress being the major Opposition party,” Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said at a press briefing. “All former prime ministers of the Congress party and former presidents will be given representation in the Working Committee.”

Party leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi skipped the steering committee meeting, with reports suggesting that they wanted to send a message they had no intentions of interfering with the party’s decision making.

The 47-member steering committee of the Congress had been formed in October after Kharge was elected as the party’s president. The panel was formed as all members of the Congress Working Committee, general secretaries and other office-bearers resigned from their posts ahead of the president elections, in accordance with the party’s traditions.

The Congress is currently holding its three-day plenary session in Raipur, where the party is expected to take key decisions on laying out the roadmap for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

The steering committee will take a call on bringing amendments to the party constitution. There will also be a discussion on six resolutions to be adopted at the session. The resolutions would be on political, economic and international affairs, farmers, social justice and youth empowerment.

In his opening address at the plenary session on Friday, Kharge said that the meeting was being held at a time when democracy and the Constitution are under threat and parliamentary institutions are facing serious crisis and political activities being being put under scrutiny, PTI reported.

He also said that elections to six state Assemblies and the Lok Sabha over the next one year presented the Congress with a challenge as well as an opportunity.