Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Friday cautioned against raising of provocative issues during poll campaigns saying they hurt democracy.
"Raising of provocative issues will be a hurdle for democracy and was not going to strengthen it," Vajpayee told a news conference in Shimla on the second day of his visit to Himachal Pradesh for poll campaign.
Vajpayee said he was forced to raise the beef issue in his campaign speech in Mandi on Thursday to rebut baseless allegations levelled by the Youth Congress in its posters in Madhya Pradesh.
"If the youth Congress had not indulged in this slander campaign, I would not have brought up the issue," he said.
Vajpayee said in his election rally on Thursday that the malicious and baseless propaganda of the Congress could arouse public sentiments.
He also counselled that political parties should refrain from mudslinging during elections.
The Prime Minister said elections should be fought on the basis of principles and all parties, including the VHP, had an equal responsibility in this regard.
"Merely election laws are not enough," he said adding that there was already a code of conduct to be followed by political parties.