WASHINGTON, Nov 9 - In a stunning result, billionaire businessman Donald Trump today beat seasoned politician Hillary Clinton in the knife-edge polls, defying the odds to become the 45th US President after starting off as a rank political outsider. It was a heartbreak for Democratic nominee Clinton, who was hoping to become the first woman president of the US, as Trump edged past her in a see-saw battle which he clinched by winning 288 electoral college votes to Clinton�s 215.
To win the presidential election, a candidate needs 270 of the 538 electoral college votes.
The 70-year-old business tycoon�s strong showing in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Texas and North Carolina helped him pull-off a win which proved most pollsters wrong.
Trump, addressing his supporters at his campaign headquarters, said, �It is time for us to come together as one united people. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president of all Americans.�
Trump said he received a call from Clinton, who congratulated him on the victory.
�And I congratulated her on her hard campaign. We owe her a major debt of gratitude to the country,� he said.
�Ours was not a campaign, but a movement. It is a movement comprising from all races, background and believes. Working together, we would begin the urgent task of rebuilding the country. The country has a tremendous potential,� he said.
�We are going to fix inner cities, we are going to build our infrastructure. We would put millions of people to work as we rebuild it,� he told his supporters amid loud cheers.
CNN projected that Trump had won 29 states while Clinton emerged victorious in 18.
According to the channel, Trump won Pennsylvania, Florida, Alaska, Utah, Iowa, Arizona, Wisconsin, Georgia, Ohio, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, West Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina, Montana, Idaho and Missouri.
Clinton emerged victorious in California, Nevada, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, District of Columbia, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, Oregon, Washington and Rhode Island.
Trump supporters filled the Hilton hotel ballroom in New York as the Republican presidential nominee�s improbable underdog campaign picked up steam across the country.
Once considered a long shot for the presidency, the billionaire from New York tapped into the disillusionment of the average white working class American against the establishment, moulding it into vicious anti-immigrant rhetoric which proved to be an electoral gold mine.
Trump, a political outsider, was rebuked by many top Republicans for his remarks on women and immigrants and several party leaders had refused to back him despite his comprehensive win in the primaries.
Most experts said the FBI announcing reopening of its probe into the 69-year-old former secretary of state�s email scandal could have swung the pendulum in Trump�s favour.
The FBI though gave her a last-minute clean chit ahead of the polls, experts said it might have been too late by then.
The election saw the ugliest campaign in US history with Clinton and Trump trading personal attacks and allegations. From the Democratic nominee�s email scandal to the sexual assault accusations against her Republican rival, the campaign was acrimonious all the way.
Trump, addressing his supporters, talked about his vision to boost America�s economy.
Trump also thanked his wife Melania, parents, brothers, sons and daughters for their constant support throughout the campaign.
�This political stuff is nasty and is tough,� he said as he called for unity after brutal elections.
�It is time for us to come together as one united people,� Trump said. � PTI