Golwalkar approved of the Malkani's and others' views regarding the formation of a new party in 1950. Jaffrelot says that the death of Sardar Patel influenced this change since Golwalkar opined that Patel could have transformed the Congress party by emphasizing its affinities with Hindu nationalism, while after Patel, Nehru became strong enough to impose his 'anti-communal' line within his party. Accordingly, Golwalkar met Syama Prasad Mukherjee and agreed for endorsing senior swayamsevaks, who included Deendayal Upadhyaya, Balraj Madhok and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, a newly formed political party by Mukherjee. These men, who took their orders in Nagpur, captured power in the party after Mookerjee’s death.
Balasaheb Deoras, who succeeded Golwalkar as the chief of RSS, got very much involved in politics. In 1965, when he was the general secretary of the RSS, he addressed the annual meeting of Jana Sangh, which is seen as an "unprecedented move" by an RSS dignitary that reflected his strong interest in politics and his will to make the movement play a larger part in the public sphere. Jaffrelot says that he exemplified the specific kind of swayamsevaks known as 'activists', giving expression to his leanings towards political activism by having the RSS support the anti-Indira Gandhi's 'JP Movement'. The importance that RSS began to give to the electoral politics is demonstrated when its units (shakhas) were made constituency-based in the early 1970s, from which the RSS shakhas began to involve directly in elections, not only of legislatures, but also of trade unions, student and cultural organisations.
As soon as the RSS men took over the Jana Sangh party, the Hindu traditionalists who previously joined the party because of S.P. Mookerjee were sidelined. The organisation of the party was restructured and all its organisational secretaries, who were the pillars of the party, came from the RSS, both at the district and state level. The party also took the vision of RSS in its mission, where its ultimate objective in the long run was the reform of society, but not the conquest of power, since the 'state' was not viewed as a prominent institution. Hence the Jana Sangh initially remained reluctant to join any alliance that was not fully in harmony with its ideology. In 1962, Deendayal Upadhyaya, who was then party's chief, explained this approach by saying that "coalitions were bound to degenerate into a struggle for power by opportunist elements coming together in the interest of expediency". He wanted to build the party as an alternative party to the Congress and saw the elections as an ‘opportunity to educate the people on political issues and to challenge the right of the Congress to be in power.’ Jaffrelot says that this indifferent approach of party politics was in accordance with its lack of interest in the 'state' and the wish to make it weaker, or more decentralized. After India's defeat in the 1962 Sino Indian war, the RSS and other right-wing forces in India were strengthened since the left and centrist opinion, sometimes even Nehru himself, could then be blamed for being 'soft' towards China. The RSS and Jana Sangh also took complete advantage of the 1965 war with Pakistan to 'deepen suspicion about Muslims', and also en-cashed the growing unpopularity of Congress, particularly in the Hindi-belt, where a left-wing alternative was weak or non-existent. The major themes on the party's agenda during this period were banning cow slaughter, abolishing the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir and legislating a uniform civil code. Explaining the Jana Sangh's failure to become a major political force despite claiming to represent the national interests of the Hindus, scholar Bruce Desmond Graham states that the party's close initial ties with the Hindi-belt and its preoccupation with the issues of North India such as promotion of Hindi, energetic resistance to Pakistan etc., had become a serious disadvantage to the party in the long run. He also adds that its interpretation of Hinduism was 'restrictive and exclusive', arguing that "its doctrines were inspired by an activist version of Hindu nationalism and, indirectly, by the values of Brahmanism rather than the devotional and quietist values of popular Hinduism." Desmond says, if the Jana Sangh had carefully moderated its Hindu nationalism, it could have been able to well-exploit any strong increase in support for the traditional and nationalist Hindu opinion, and hence to compete on equal terms with the Congress in the northern states. He also remarks that if it had adopted a less harsh attitude towards Pakistan and Muslims, "it would have been much more acceptable to Hindu traditionalists in the central and southern states, where partition had left fewer emotional scars."
The Jana Sangh started making alliances by entering the anti-Congress coalitions since 1960s. It became part of the 1971 Grand Alliance and finally merged itself with the Janata Party in 1977. The success of Janata Party in 1977 elections made the RSS members central ministers for the first time (Vajpayee, Advani and Brij Lal Verma), and provided the RSS with an opportunity to avail the state and its instruments to further its ends, through the resources of various state governments as well as the central government. However, this merge, which was seen as a dilution of its original doctrine, was viewed by the ex-Jana Sanghis as submersion of their initial identity. Meanwhile, the other components of the Janata Party denounced the allegiance the ex-Jana Sanghis continued to pay to the RSS. This led to a 'dual membership' controversy, regarding the links the former Jana Sangh members were retaining with the RSS, and it led to the split of Janata Party in 1979.
The former Jana Sangh elements formed a new party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in 1980. However, BJP originated more as a successor to the Janata Party and did not return to the beginning stages of the Hindu nationalist identity and Jana Sangh doctrines. The RSS resented this dilution of ideology — the new slogans promoted by the then BJP president Vajpayee like ‘Gandhian socialism’ and ‘positive secularism’. By early 1980s, RSS is said to have established its political strategy of "never keeping all its eggs in one basket". It even decided to support Congress in some states, for instance to create the Hindu Munnani in Tamil Nadu in the backdrop of the 1981 Meenakshipuram conversion, and to support one of its offshoots, Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), to launch an enthno-religious movement on the Ayodhya dispute. BJP did not have much electoral success in its initial years and was able to win only two seats in the 1984 elections. After L.K. Advani replaced Vajpayee as party president in 1986, the BJP also began to rally around the Ayodhya campaign. In 1990, the party organised the Ram Rath Yatra to advance this campaign in large-scale. Advani also attacked the then ruling Congress party with the slogans such as 'pseudo secularism', accusing Congress of misusing secularism for the political appeasement of minorities, and established an explicit and unambiguous path of Hindu revival.
The 'instrumentalization' of the Ayodhya issue and the related com