An account of the democratic process and electoral politics in Andhra Pradesh during the last 50 years is presented in this paper. An attempt is made to analyse the ways in which the regional, factional, class and caste factors have operated in State politics and shaped the electoral outcomes. As such, the paper discusses how the policies and programmes of the State government and also the strategies of competing political parties have been influenced by the logic of electoral politics. It examines the process of the emergence of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the factors for its consolidation. It also focuses on certain aspects of political decay and the challenges to the political leadership in the State and investigates the multiple and shifting strategies of the ruling TDP and the Congress in winning the elections in recent years. Since the Livelihood Options Research in South Asia project focuses on the Panchayati Raj system in Andhra Pradesh, the results of the recent elections to the local bodies are discussed in detail in a separate section towards the end of this paper. In the process it analyses the dilemma faced by the ruling party in balancing the need for economic growth through the implementation of radical economic reforms and the compulsions of competitive electoral politics as they manifest in the continuation of the welfare programmes for the benefit of the poor and the disadvantaged. Some of the major aspects of Andhra Pradesh State politics and issues that require further study are discussed in the Conclusion.