The unquestioned matinee idol of Telugu film industry, Nandamuri Tarak Rama Rao-NTR, the main architect, established the Telugu Desam Party with a slogan "Self Respect for Telugus". And it also founded with an ideology to safeguard the political, social, cultural and economic status of Telugu speaking people. NTR sowed the seeds for the establishment of TDP in the year 1982. The Telugu Desam Party gained national as well as historical importance as it was the first non-Congress party to rise to power in Andhra Pradesh.

NTR, who worshiped as `God’ for his mythological roles in Telugu Cinema has decided to launch a party which should reflect the pride and self-respect of Telugu people. Subsequently, he observed the political situation in the state, where the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh T. Anjaiah was insulted by Rajiv Gandhi in Hyderabad. At the same time, the Congress high command has changed five Chief Ministers within five years. NTR took all these developments very seriously and announced launching TDP on 29 March 1982.

He caught the attention of the country by taking up the first Ratha Yatra with his “Chaitanya Ratham”-vehicle that was designed exclusively to travel across the state. His son Nandamuri Harikrishna drove the vehicle for nine months continuously and travelled thousands of miles. He received tumultuous welcomed from each and every village in the state and he completed 16 thousand kilometres on his Ratham. The charm and the oratory skills of NTR grabbed the attention of all and sundry and the result is his party’s landslide victory over the Congress party. In its first election, the TDP won 202 seats along with Sanjay Vichar Manch, out of 294 seats. He was first non-Congress Chief Minister to take oath on 9 January 1983. He introduced many welfare and populist schemes like rice for poor for Rs.2, abolition of patel, patwari system in Telangana, establishing mandal system, erecting statues of prominent personalities of Telugu states and reducing age limit for employees.

One of the two most significant periods in TDP's history is the coup raised against its government in 1984. Nadendla Bhaskar Rao, then leader of Congress, at the behest of AICC leadership and support of Governor Ram Lal has toppled NTR’s government, while he was in America for medical treatment. But thanks to the immense public support and popularity NTR commanded, the party came out of that quagmire with flying colors. After becoming Chief Minister again, he went to Tamil Nadu election campaign in support of the then CM MG Ramachandran, who was close friend in film industry. His fluency of speaking Tamil was proved when he addressed election meetings in Tamil and won the hearts of Tamil brethren. He dissolved Assembly to seek fresh mandate of the people in the year 1985, when majority of MLAs to whom he gave lift all those years, supported Nadendla Bhaskar Rao. During the elections the TDP won 202 seats and came back to power. He faced public ire as he took some controversial decisions. His comment “Naxalites are real patriots” came under serious criticism. He started National Front by uniting all the opposition parties to fight against Congress government at the Centre. In 1989 elections, National Front won majority seats and came to power in which NTR played a crucial role. He took a sensational decision during 1991 by-poll in Nandyal, by not fielding TDP’s candidate against Congress senior leader P.V. Narasimha Rao as the Telugu personality became Prime Minister. Next turbulent period came when NTR married to Lakshmi Parvathi and wanted to make his political heir and it led to internal conflicts and struggle for power rocked the party, with his son-in-law, Nara Chandrababu Naidu on one side and Laxmi Parvathi on the other. The turbulent period ended with Chandrababu Naidu becoming CM in 1995. After long political battle, NTR died on 18 January, 1996. In the same year the National Front came to power again at Centre with Chandrababu playing key role in formation of government.

TDP upheld his leadership even in 1999 and Chandrababu Naidu emerged victorious in elections during that year.TDP aligned with BJP in that elections. US President Bill Clinton came to Andhra Pradesh when Chandrababu was Chief Ministerin the year 2000 and the state has witness fastest growth in the areas of IT, industries and others. But in 2004 and 2009 elections, the electoral fortunes of TDP plunged deep and it had to suffer defeat which had its impact on the political prospects of the party. Particularly in 2009 elections, NTR’s son Nandamuri Balakrishna who entered politics, Junior NTR, son of Harikrishna have campaigned on behalf of TDP, but the party had settled with 92 seats only. Naidu took five years to come to power i.e. in 2014, but this time he pictured himself as national as well as international personality and put his best foot forward in the development of the Andhra Pradesh. Under his guidance the state gained worldwide recognition in the field of IT and is next only to Bangalore in its contribution to IT sector.

From 2009 to 2014 the TDP has faced tough time in the state of Telangana as MLAs from TRS resigned in tune with separate statehood. TDP lost all the by-polls in Telangana, which led Chandrababu to take a decision to take up walkathon in the name of ‘vastunna mee kosam”. He made a record by walking 2340 kilometres in 117 days. He took another important decision and wrote a letter in support of Telangana. But, this decision left the party into jeopardy as both the states are important for the party.

After the bifurcation of the state, the TDP government, entrusted with responsibility of securing the political and economic future of the state, has embarked on the enormous task of building world-class capital. TDP supremo Chandrababu Naidu alleges that the Central government is doing what was promised during the bifurcation of the state. A crucial demand of the people that AP is granted Special status has not been met even after 4 yrs had passed since the state came into existence. With the main parties Janasena and YCP placing the blame on TDP for failing to get the special category status granted.