Toronto: Trouncing the Liberals in a landmark federal election Canada's Conservative Prime
Minister Stephen Harper, who favours close ties with India, on Tuesday got the mandate to form the first ever majority government.

Harper achieved his long-running quest to attain a majority government during the Monday's federal election, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported on Tuesday. Harper will soon begin his third term in office.

The election also saw Jack Layton's New Democratic Party surge dramatically to become the country's official Opposition for the first time in its history, pushing the Liberals to the third position.

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff accepted responsibility for his party's "historic defeat" in a concession speech to supporters.

The Tories took more than 70 of Ontario's 106 seats, an increase of about 20. And the NDP will send about 60 of Quebec's 75 MPs to Parliament.

Harper favours close ties with India and during his current term, India and Canada signed a nuclear deal in June, last year when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited the country.

The New Democrats held just one riding in Quebec — Thomas Mulcair's seat in Outremont — before the election, media report said.

In Calgary, at a rally of Harper's supporters, Conservatives cheered and celebrated as the results rolled in from across the country — confirming that Canadians, in large numbers, had given Harper the trust he had sought during the five-week campaign.

Harper, for the first time in the four campaigns he has led as Conservative leader since 2004, explicitly called on Canadians to give his party a majority mandate.
Agencies