In a spectacular reversal of fortune, Donald Trump has surprised all pollsters as he inches closer to become the next president of US.
Trump, who was trailing all along to Clinton before the polls started, has now established a huge lead of 244-209 with just 20 more electoral college votes needed to secure a victory.
Meanwhile, sources have said that Clinton called Trump and conceded defeat on the phone.
This came after, in a surprising development, Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta told the crowd gathered at the Clinton campaign HQ to go home asking them to come home. What it meant is that Clinton will not be making concession speech tonight.
Earlier in the night, the world waited with bated breadth for the outcome of the election, Clinton and Trump were locked in a fierce battle for the White House with razor thin margins separating the two in a series of battleground states that will determine the outcome of the presidential contest.
Trump, 70, was ahead in the key battleground state of Florida while Clinton was projected to win in delegate-rich New York, the home state of both the candidates.
Trump is now leading Clinton by 245 electoral college votes to 218. Clinton won Virginia and Colorado, but Trump won North Carolina and more crucially Florida and Georgia.
While some US media networks have declared Trump’s victory in Pennsylvania, others including the BBC and ABC have chosen not to call the result yet.
To win the presidential election, a candidate needs 270 of the 538 electoral college votes.
It was too early or close to call a range of vital swing states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia and North Carolina. A win in Pennsylvania, state with 26 electoral college votes, will conclusively ensure Trump’s elevation as the next president of America.
CNN projected that Trump had won 16 states while Clinton emerged victorious in 10.
According to the channel, Trump won North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, West Virginia, Alabama and South Carolina.
Clinton emerged victorious in Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, District of Columbia, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island.
Trump was also ahead in Virginia when reports last came in, but results were still too close to call.
Virginia, which 13 electoral college votes, has a significant Indian-American population and is home to Democratic vice-presidential nominee, Senator Tim Kaine.
In terms of overall vote percentage, Trump has so far received 49.2 per cent of the votes counted so far as against 46.8 per cent gained by Clinton.
The incoming returns follow a frenzied day of voting across America marked by long lines and last-minute appeals for support from both campaigns.
While the race has tightened in recent days, the Democratic nominee still seemed to enter Election Day with the edge on the electoral map in her quest to become the first woman elected US president. But Trump, a rank political outsider, voiced confidence yesterday about his chances in key battlegrounds.
“We’re going to win a lot of states,” the Republican nominee told Fox News as he aims for an upset victory to cap his improbable campaign which came from behind to vanquish 16 competitors in the rowdy Republican primaries.
Sporadic complaints of equipment failures and long lines also greeted voters across the country Tuesday as they headed to their polling centers to cast their vote.
However, much of the country experienced a relatively smooth Election Day.
Vermont, where Hillary won, is the home state of Senator Bernie Sanders, who lost to Hillary in the Democratic presidential primary. Indiana, where Trump was victorious, is the home of Mike Pence, the Republican vice-presidential nominee, who is its governor.
Trump was ahead in Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, New Hampshire.
Clinton was leading in Pennsylvania, a key battleground state that has 20 electoral college votes.
In Florida, Trump had taken a lead of about 77,000 votes.
Florida has 29 electoral college votes.
Both Clinton and Trump are among the oldest general election candidates in US history.
If Trump wins the election, it will make him the oldest president in US history — Ronald Reagan was just about 70 years old when he was elected to office in 1981. If Clinton wins, it will make her, at 69, the second oldest behind Reagan.
In the US, voters select presidential electors, who in turn, vote for the new president and vice president on November 8 through the Electoral College. Electors are apportioned to each of the 50 states as well as to the District of Columbia (also known as Washington, DC).
The number of electors in each state is equal to the number of members of Congress to which the state is entitled, while the 23rd Amendment grants the District of Columbia the same number of electors as the least populous state, currently three.
Therefore, in total, there are currently 538 electors, corresponding to the 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 senators, plus the three additional electors from the District of Columbia.
It may be noted that electoral members are not members of US Congress.
(With PTI inputs)