Since his early years, Fernandes was interested in politics as well as social work. First elected in 1980 to the Lok Sabha from Udupi, he was again re-elected to the lower house of Parliament in 1984, 89, 91 and again in 96 from Udupi. He worked as the party's General Secretary in 1996 and served in the office of the Central Election Committee of Congress.
Fernandes has taken up many schemes and projects in the state. He has worked hard to improve the life of small businessmen, farmers, and even large businesses. It is also known that he has approached various regional banks as well as national banks for loans for various projects. Tremendous work has been done by him towards building a number of projects and construction of various structures like schools, colleges, civic buildings, bridges, roads, etc. It was due to his preparedness and willingness to serve the society that kept the crime rate in check. Knowing the lack of availability of medical facilities in various health centres, Fernandes had seen to it that there were well-qualified doctors in primary health centres.
In 1998, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha and again in 2004. He worked on portfolios like NRI Affairs, Statistics and Programme Implementation and Youth and Sports.