Telugu Desam Party (Telugu :తెలుగు దేశం Party for Telugu Land and people) or TDP is a regional political party in India's Andhra Pradesh state. It was founded by former Telugu film star N.T. Rama Rao on March 29, 1982. Rama Rao wanted an alternative to the ruling Congress Party in the state.
In the 13th Lok Sabha (1999-2004), it was the fourth largest party with 29 members.
NTR, also known as ANNAGARU (elder brother) to the entire state, toured the state extensively in what was called Chaitanya Ratham (literally - a Chariot which spreads energy), his "election vehicle", and made use of the immense popularity of his on-screen movie image to win the next election. The party was voted to power in a record nine months after its establishment. TDP also won more than 35 (out of 42) Lok Sabha seats in the 1984 Indian elections. This made TDP the largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha as Congress won more than 400 (out of about 500) seats in that election and this was also the first time any regional party became the largest opposition.
The TDP was voted out of power in the state in 1988. During his first tenure, Rama Rao introduced many populist measures like selling a kilogram of rice for Rs.2.
Between 1988 and 1994, N.T. Rama Rao gave up his sanyasa and married a part-time journalist and student of political history, Lakshmi Parvati. In this period he also played a significant role in national politics by pledging support to the then prime Ministers V.P. Singh and Chandra Shekhar (who formed coalition governments in the absence of absolute majority for their respective parties).
TDP returned to power in 1994. Rama Rao was elected to be the Chief Minister for the second time. But his governing cabinet and his family suffered from what many political observers saw, as "unconstitutional interference in affairs" by his new wife. In 1995, Nara Chandrababu Naidu, finance minister and the son-in-law of NTR (who is married to NTR's daughter through his first wife) overthrew Rama Rao's government by gathering a majority of the MLAs. This is known as Viceroy Hotel Coup (it should not have happened to Annagaaru). The overwhelming consensus against his party led the Election Commission to recognize a break-away faction under the party's original name. NTR, the founder of the party, had to rename what was left of the party as "NTR TDP". He vowed to go to the people, seeking a fresh mandate after this humiliation. However, within a year, he died of natural causes.
After the demise of N.T. Rama Rao in 1996, his widow split the minority party again in the face of other opponents who were claiming to inherit his legacy. However, the infighting, fragmentation and the lack of a charismatic leader, led them to political oblivion in the subsequent elections. Chandrababu Naidu remained the leader of the majority faction, now recognised as the official Telugu Desam.
Naidu has expressed a goal of establishing Hyderabad and the state as a center for information technology. He wants to make Andhra Pradesh what he calls Swarnaandhra Pradesh (literally Golden Andhra Pradesh). He controlled the anti-social elements in the state to a very large extent and thus improved the Law & Order situation in the state. In his first term in the office as Chief Minister he had done a lot to irrigation sector.
During his second term in the office he stressed for the need of better roads throughout the entire state, in which he had almost succeeded. Hyderabad was well developed. HITEC City in Hyderabad is one of his major accomplishments.By this time he came to be known as CEO of Andhra Pradesh for the flair he had for commerce, especially in Information Technology. But in this course he got carried away and neglected the irrigation sector. Drought conditions also fuelled the anger of the people. After the infamous assassination attempt, he dissolved the assembly and went for early elections in which his party was defeated. His expectations that the sympathy he gained from the assassination attempt would come to his aid in the elections did not turn out to be true. Naidu ruled the state for two consecutive terms which made him the first Chief Minister to achieve this credit in Andhra Pradesh.