Over the years, the city has grown a reputation for all types of business, and was known for its duplicate things While its image has improved in recent times, it remains one of the cities that has continuously sent him to the legislature; Pappu Kalani has won four state elections here, two of them while he was in jail.
As of 2001 India census, Ulhasnagar had a population of 472,943. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Ulhasnagar has an average literacy rate of 76%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 80%, and female literacy is 90%. In Ulhasnagar, 12% of the population is under 6 years of age.
After the partition of India, over 100,000 Sindhi-speaking refugees from the newly-created West Pakistan were relocated to deserted military camps five kilometers from Kalyan. The area was converted into a township in 1949, and named Ulhasnagar by the then Governor-general of India, C. Rajagopalachari (literally 'city of joy'; ulhas=joy; nagar=city).
A suburban railway station was built in 1955. In January 1960, Ulhasnagar Municipality was formed, with Arjun K. Ballani as first chief, and a municipal council was nominated. In 1965, elections to this council were held for the first time. Now this 22 square kilometer area has 350,000 people of Sindhi descent, the largest enclave of Sindhis in India. The town lies outside Mumbai city but within the Mumbai Conurbation.
The Sindhi community flourished as a business group, though it became well known for counterfeit products, often on the borders of legality. While this helped the local businesses flourish for a while, the city was seen as nothing more than a counterfeiters’paradise. Sindhis that had come as a refugee were given nothing by government as a shelter so, Illegal construction, unauthorized industrial units and high levels of pollution all began to plague the town.
Although Sindhis had nothing with them, but they used thier brains and made the business grow, and the Ulhasnagar turnover was estimated at Rs. 1,000 crores (US$ 200 million) in 1995. The counterfeit goods image gradually wore off. Consequently, politicians started to charge money to look the other way, and by 1999, each corporator in the municipality was said to be making 5 to ten lakhs in "protection money".
In 1986, Pappu Kalani was elected president of the Ulhasnagar Municipal Council (UMC), and the same year, Ulhasnagar elected him to the state legislature as a candidate of the Indian National Congress.
In 2004, Pappu Kalani again won the assembly elections, as a candidate of the Republican Party of India (Athavale).
In 2005, the Bombay High Court ordered to stop the demolition of 855 illegal structures and Pappu Kalani, passed a law permitting most of them to be legalized saving most of the people from being homeless.
In the municipal elections of 2007, despite very little electioneering by opposing groups, Pappu Kalani's group mustered only 15 seats (out of 76) in the election
One can reach Ulhasnagar by road or railway. By using Mumbai suburban railway (Central branch) one can reach Ulhasnagar by alighting at either of Kalyan and Shahad station which are near camp 1 and 2 or Ulhasnagar and Vithalwadi stations which are close to rest of the camps. The city is serviced by autorickshaw for travel from Mumbai and Thane as well as intra city transport.